Despite a plea from bishops in South America who say there are too few priests to serve people in the Amazon region, Pope Francis has rejected the idea of allowing married men to become Catholic priests.
Francis made his decision public in a statement released Wednesday. Instead of allowing married men to serve as priests in limited circumstances, he urges the bishops to encourage more missionaries to serve in the region.
Francis also spoke about environmental damage in the Amazon region and its effect on the poor and on indigenous people.
"The businesses, national or international, which harm the Amazon and fail to respect the right of the original peoples to the land and its boundaries, and to self-determination and prior consent, should be called for what they are: injustice and crime," Francis said.