Catholic Church

Pope opens debate on allowing married Catholic priests in Amazon region

Pope Francis.
Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday formally opened a 3-week Vatican meeting of bishops that will debate whether the Catholic Church should allow married men in South America's Amazon region to be ordained, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: A change to the Church's 1,000-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests could help fill a shortage of priests in the Amazon. Critics say it would "undermine the distinctive character of the priesthood," per WSJ.

Hundreds of accused priests get no oversight

Graphic showing where accused Catholic clergy members are working today
Photo: AP

There has been "little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement" over the nearly 1,700 priests and clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church, according to an AP investigation.

Why it matters: Since leaving the church, "dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography," per AP.