Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Vatican is considering allowing married men to become priests in remote parts of the Amazon

Waiting for change in the Vatican is akin to waiting for stone to melt.  I for one understand that a full integration of married men and women is fully in concert with the mission of the church and as a bonus eliminates the historic distortion that the church has suffered as a male only system.

What this really shows us is a clear road forward.  Train them up and send them out to postings on the edges were political potential is zero.  Reserve political advancement to the clearly formed and celibate as this likely goes together.

Also recruit from those in their fifties as well.  There are then plenty of those who have also left secular life and would love to live a calling. .

The Vatican is considering allowing married men to become priests in remote parts of the Amazon in a historic shift for the Church

The historic shift has been suggested in remote areas where clergy are scarce Vatican document  makes the recommendation for bishops in the Amazon jungle  As well as older married men, it advocates a more prominent role for women  Text refers to 'viri probati' - Latin terminology for men of proven character

By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline

Published: 06:52 EDT, 17 June 2019 | Updated: 06:58 EDT, 17 June 2019

The Vatican is considering allowing married men to become priests in remote areas in a historic shift for the Church.

The recommendation was made for older married men for a synod of bishops in the Amazon jungle which is scheduled for October.

The document released today also called for an 'official ministry' for women in the area, although it did not elaborate.

It was the most direct mention ever in a Vatican document of the possibility of a married priesthood, albeit limited, and a greater ministerial role for women in one area of the world.

Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly audience on June 5 - the Pope has previously stated he would be willing to permit married priests in remote areas

Roman Catholic pilgrims travel in a boat as they accompany the statue of Our Lady of Conception during an annual river procession and pilgrimage along the Caraparu River in Santa Izabel do Para, in the Amazon jungle

Some believe this could pave the way for more married men in other parts of the world where clergy are scarce.

The document spoke of the possibility of ordaining what are known as 'viri probati' - Latin for men of proven character - to deal with the shortage of priests.

Such men would be elderly, outstanding members of the local Catholic community and with grown-up families.

'While affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, there have been requests that, for the most remote areas of the region, (the Church) studies the possibility of conferring priestly ordination on elderly men, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted members of their communities,' the document said.

It said such men could be ordained 'even if they already have an established and stable family, in order to guarantee the sacraments that accompany and sustain Christian life.'

Only priests can say Mass or hear confessions, meaning that Catholics in isolated communities in the Amazon can go for many months without participating in either of the sacraments.

Roman Catholic pilgrims display a banner with an image depicting Jesus Christ as they travel in a boat in the Amazon jungle

Some Catholic scholars have said the approval of 'viri probati' in the Amazon may eventually pave the way for their use elsewhere in the world as a response to the shortage of priests.

Pope Francis, in an interview with a German newspaper in 2017, said he was willing to consider ordaining 'viri probati' men as priests in isolated communities.

But he ruled out a general opening the priesthood to all married men or watering down the Catholic Church's commitment to celibacy, seen as a virtue that frees priests to devote their lives fully to serve God.

Pilgrims dressed in white take part in an annual river procession in the Amazon jungle

The synod from October 6 to 27 at the Vatican will include bishops and other representatives, including indigenous peoples, from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana.

At the end of their conference, participants will vote on various articles in a final document, which will then go to the pope, who will decide whether to make it an official Apostolic Exhortation based on the synod meetings.

The document also issues a strong defence for the protection of the environment in the Amazon, deforestation, illegal mining and development projects that threaten native cultures and the delicate ecosystem vital for the planet.

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