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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VATICAN CITY -- Lay men and women involved in ministry have been fundamental in spreading the Gospel and furthering the Catholic Church's mission in the Amazon, a Brazilian bishop said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or "viri probati," as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region, a Brazilian bishop said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Synod members called for the Catholic Church to deepen its theology in a way that would help people recognize "ecological sins."

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VATICAN CITY -- Synod participants offered several proposals to address the lack of priests in the Amazon region, including revising the formation program for candidates to the priesthood and instituting new ministries for lay men and women.

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VATICAN CITY -- Climate change, water resources, inculturation and indigenous practices were among the topics discussed during the first afternoon session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

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VATICAN CITY -- People in Western countries need to see the different cultural expressions of faith that exist in other parts of the world, said some participants at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

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VATICAN CITY -- With its mandate to seek "new pathways for the church and for an integral ecology," the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon follows Pope Francis' call for the church to move forward without fear, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes told participants.

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VATICAN CITY -- While the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon is focused on one small, but important geographical area, the issues involved impact the universal Catholic Church, said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon is a time of reflection, dialogue and listening to the needs and sufferings of indigenous people, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic Church's mission in the world is to spread the fire of God's love and must not be limited to the "'ordinary maintenance' of those who already know the Gospel," Pope Francis said.

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OTTAWA -- Although the question of married priests to serve remote regions of the Amazon has monopolized headlines prior to the upcoming Synod of Bishops, it is not a priority issue, said a Canadian bishop who will participate in the synod.

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