The largest Roman Catholic geographical district in Brazil, located deep in the Amazon along the Xingu River, has more than 800 Catholic congregations but only 27 priests.
Top Catholic and Orthodox church officials in North America are calling on the Vatican to let married men become priests in Eastern rite Catholic churches, another sign that optional celibacy could become a front-burner issue under Pope Francis.
Eastern rite Catholic churches have a look and feel similar to Eastern Orthodox churches but are loyal to Rome and fall under the pope's jurisdiction.
David Gibson frames the issue of a married clergy well in his article for Religion News Service.
Pope Francis apparently had another one of his private conversations with a Brazilian bishop whose diocese is in the rainforest. The diocese has a total of 27 priests for 700,000 Catholics. Most Catholics are only able to attend Mass a couple of times a year.
There are at least three reasons Pope Francis may be amenable to the debate on whether to allow married men into the priesthood.
The global Catholic church is vastly divided on major issues, including gay marriage, abortion and women priests, according to a survey released by Univision.