Wednesday, February 12, 2020
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has for now rejected a landmark proposal by bishops to allow the ordination of married men in remote areas, a potentially momentous change that conservatives had warned would set the Roman Catholic Church on a slippery slope toward lifting priestly celibacy and weakening church traditions.
Francis’ decision, in a papal letter made public on Wednesday, surprised many given the openness he had displayed on the subject and his frequently expressed desire for a more collegial and less top-down church.
It disappointed supporters of Francis who had hoped for more revolutionary change. Coming seven years into his papacy, it also raised the question of whether Francis’ promotion of discussing once-taboo issues is resulting in a pontificate that is largely talk.