VATICAN CITY -- Whether or not the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon helps open the door to ordaining women deacons, women will continue to play a fundamental role in ministry in the church in the region, religious sisters said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Creating an Amazonian-rite liturgy and new ministries for laypeople, including the ordination of women deacons, are some of the recurring proposals made by small groups at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

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VATICAN CITY -- As tropical forests fall victim to loggers, miners and ranchers, the Catholic Church must take sides to defend the Amazon region and its people, said a bishop whose Bolivian diocese has been ravaged by fire this year.

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis and members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon repeatedly vowed to support, defend and accompany the region's indigenous people.

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VATICAN CITY -- Proposals for Amazonian development made by well-known observers at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon could conflict with the expectations of indigenous people unless they are included in decision-making, some synod participants said.

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VATICAN CITY -- While indigenous cultures may have difficulty accepting the concept of celibacy, indigenous candidates for the priesthood are more than capable of understanding that it is a gift from God, said an indigenous priest from Brazil.

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ROME -- As the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon heard pleas to defend the rights of the region's indigenous people and of the land they hold sacred, indigenous leaders from Canada and the United States came to Rome to support them.

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VATICAN CITY -- Indigenous people are hoping that the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will awaken the world's conscience to their plight and not simply offer them lip service, an indigenous participant told Pope Francis.

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VATICAN CITY -- Existing formation programs are not preparing priests and other pastoral workers to be leaders in a church with an Amazonian and indigenous face, according to bishops participating in the synod for the Amazon.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon is not a "referendum" on priestly celibacy; it is looking for ways to provide for the sacramental life and formation of the people there, U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Proposals at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon for indigenous- or Amazonian-rite ceremonies are meant to enhance and enrich the liturgy with cultural signs and gestures, not change what is essential for Catholics, a bishop said.

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VATICAN CITY -- The first week of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon saw support for the priestly ordination of married indigenous men, impassioned pleas for respect for indigenous culture and denunciations of violence against the earth.

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ROME -- Ecuadorian observers at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon are keeping an eye on massive protests that have claimed the lives of five people in their country.

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VATICAN CITY -- While the Catholic Church has made strides to include the voice of women, especially in the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, women should be included among synod voting members and in church leadership positions, a German theologian said.

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VATICAN CITY -- By demanding respect for the cultures of indigenous peoples, Pope Francis was not promoting pantheism, but -- tapping into his Jesuit roots -- urging respect for a worldview that sees God in all things.

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