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Calls for women priests and clergy allowed to marry in Catholic Church
Women should be ordained to tackle the shortage of Catholic clergy in Ireland, a Catholic lobby group has advised.
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) said that if the decline in the number of serving priests is not halted, members of the faith face being denied church weddings and christenings.
ACP is also advocating for priests being allowed to marry. Pope Francis has shown an openness to the marriage of deacons, in light of the recommendations from last week's Amazon synod where a more open minded approach to the ordination of married deacons in the Amazon region is being considered.
Many priests who have left the ministry to get married could bring a "huge richness and wisdom" to the Church if they were allowed to return as leaders, he said.
Fr Roy Dononvan is concerned by the "failure" to address the issue of inequality for women within the Church.
He said: "Women can't become deacons at the moment which means there's no opportunity to become leaders. The synod has left women as second class citizens. The Church is not treating women as human beings and it's a massive injustice at the heart of the Church."
Spokesperson for the ACP, Fr Tim Hazelwood said the Catholic Church "faced a catastrophic situation" and priests were an "endangered species".
He warned that unless new measures are brought in "we're facing a really bleak future".
The ordination of women and married priests will be discussed on 30th October at the Irish Association of Catholic Priests annual general meeting.
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