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Pope closes out Amazon synod that enraged conservatives

Pope Francis has brought to a close a three-week meeting on protecting the Amazon and ministering to its indigenous people, a gathering hit by outrage by conservatives over the display of indigenous statues featuring a naked, pregnant woman.

More than 180 bishops were voting on the final text of the synod on Saturday. In the synod hall were two of the statues that conservatives declared were pagan idols and had thrown into the Tiber River.

The most controversial proposals under consideration at the meeting were whether married men can be ordained priests, and women deacons, to address the acute shortage of clergy in the Amazon region, where isolated communities can go months without having a proper Mass.

In this photo taken on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, members of Amazon indigenous populations prepare for a a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession from St. Angelo Castle to the Vatican. In foreground is a wooden statue portraying a naked pregnant woman. Pope Francis’ meeting on the Amazon is wrapping up after three weeks of debate over married priests, the environment _ and the destruction of indigenous statues that underscored the willingness of conservatives to violently vent their opposition to the pope. (AP PhotoAndrew Medichini)

Participants in the Amazon synod attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the occasion of the World Missionary Day, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (Angelo CarconiANSA via AP)

In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, Pope Francis walks past wooden statues portraying naked pregnant women as he arrives to attend a tree planting rite with members of Amazon indigenous populations, in the Vatican gardens. Pope Francis’ meeting on the Amazon is wrapping up after three weeks of debate over married priests, the environment _ and the destruction of indigenous statues that underscored the willingness of conservatives to violently vent their opposition to the pope. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)