Catholic Bishops approved a proposal on Saturday allowing some married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region.
The proposal, which must be approved by Pope Francis, would be a historic change to the church’s centuries-old tradition of unmarried priests.
It passed by a vote of 128-41 and applies only to some churches in the Amazon region that are experiencing a shortage of priests.
The region includes parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
The proposal, known as “viri probati,” refers to older Catholic men, who have stable families, are respected in their communities and are already ordained as deacons in the church.
Allowing married men to become priests is not the same thing as allowing priests to marry, so the change would not affect the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests, who are not allowed to marry.