The Vatican is to consider ordaining married men as priests in remote areas of the Amazon where there is a shortage of clergy.
The suggestion is made in a document prepared for the Amazon Synod, which takes place in Rome in October to discuss issues in the region.
If ultimately approved, the move would signal a historic shift on celibacy by the Catholic church.
In the document, Vatican officials reaffirm their belief that "celibacy is a gift for the Church".
However, the document also states that the prospect of ordaining married men who have an 'established and stable family' should be examined for the most remote areas of the Amazon.
It says such men should be "elderly people, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community".
The change is being proposed in a bid to serve the needs of Christian people in the territory.
The Vatican document also suggests that women could be appointed to 'official ministry' in the region, although does not offer any further details on what that would entail.
Father Iggy O’Donovan spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the proposals.
He observed: "If it happens as is proposed here for the Amazon basin, it probably would be leaving the door a bit ajar.
"Now, on another level it's a bid odd - how you can define something geographically... that something applies to the Amazon basin and doesn't apply to the Mississippi basin?
"Secondly, [there's] this thing about it being allowed for older men... how do we define what is an older man?"
He added: "At the same time, the fact that it's happening at all and obviously Pope Francis is giving it a push... it's a start."