Pope avoids question of married priests in Amazon document

Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, Photo Date: 5/25/2018 / Photo: Government of the Republic of Macedonia / (MGN)

VATICAN CITY (AP) Pope Francis has refused to approve the ordination of married men to address the priest shortage in the Amazon.

In an eagerly awaited document, Francis didn’t even refer to recommendations by Amazonian bishops to consider the ordination of married men and women deacons made during a big meeting last October.

Rather, Francis urged bishops to pray for more priestly vocations and send missionaries to the region.

The bulk of the document is instead a love letter to the Amazonian rain forest and its indigenous peoples, penned by history’s first Latin American pope who has long been concerned with the violent exploitation of the land, the Amazon's crucial importance to the global ecosystem and the injustices committed against its peoples.