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News Link • Religion: Believers

Vatican seeks 'courageous' ideas to combat priest shortage

• https://www.yahoo.com, NICOLE WINFIELD

In a preparatory document seeking input from South American bishops for the Vatican's 2019 meeting on the Amazon, organizers also said the church must identify new "official ministries" for women to play in the region.

The call was not a suggestion that women could be ordained priests, which Catholic doctrine forbids and Pope Francis has reaffirmed.

But it leaves open the door to making official some ministries that women in remote parts of Latin America already perform, including celebrating baptisms.

And it calls for "new ways" to increase access to the Eucharist in a part of the world where the church counts around one priest for every 10,000 Catholics and where remote communities can go weeks or months at a time before a priest arrives to celebrate Mass.

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