(Associated Press) Pope Francis urged South American bishops on Monday to speak courageously" at a high-profile meeting on the Amazon where the shortage of priests is so acute that the Vatican is considering ordaining married men and giving women official church ministries. Francis opened the work of the three-week synod or meeting of bishops after indigenous leaders missionary groups and a handful of bishops chanted and performed native dances in front of the main altar of St. Peters Basilica with a small wood canoe containing religious objects. Led in procession by the pope the bishops then headed to the synod hall to chart new ways for the Catholic Church to better minister to remote indigenous communities and care for the rainforest they call home.
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