Pope Francis has appointed prominent supporters of married priests to the organising council of next year’s Amazon synod.

The Pope named 18 members of the pre-synod council and announced the synod’s theme as “The Amazon: New paths for the Church and for an integral ecology”.

The council works with the synod’s secretary general in preparing for the assembly. It usually draws up an outline and list of questions which bishops’ conferences and other interested groups in the Church respond to. The responses are then compiled and analysed before a synod working document is produced.

Among the council members are Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a friend of Pope Francis and president of the Pan-Amazonian Church Network, and retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler, an Austrian-born prelate who served as Bishop of Xingu, Brazil. Both have called for the ordination of married men. In a 2014 interview with Die Presse Bishop Kräutler appeared to back women’s ordination too.

Pope Francis said last year that the synod would seek to hear the voices of those living in the Amazon region and identify new paths of evangelisation, especially for indigenous people who are “often forgotten and left without the prospect of a peaceful future, including because of the crisis of the Amazon forest”.

During his visit to Peru in January he said: “We have to break with the historical paradigm that views Amazonia as an inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants.”

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