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Amazon Synod to consider possible ordination of married men

The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”

The Xingu River is pictured in the northern Brazilian state of Para April 12, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

Vatican City, Jun 17, 2019 / 07:30 am (CNA).- The working document for the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, released Monday, recommends study of the possibility of ordaining married men in remote areas for the priesthood.

“Stating that celibacy is a gift for the Church, we ask that, for more remote areas in the region, study of the possibility of priestly ordination of elders, preferably indigenous …  they can already have an established and stable family, in order to ensure the sacraments that they accompany and support the Christian life,” paragraph 129 of the document released June 17 states.

This opens the door for the discussion of the ordination of viri probati — a term referring to mature, married men — during the Special Synod of Bishops from the Pan-Amazonian region to be held at the Vatican Oct. 6-27.

Canon law for the Latin Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of married men to the priesthood, with limited exceptions regarding the ordination of formerly Anglican and Protestant ecclesial leaders who have converted to Catholicism.

The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”

Monsignor Fabio Fabene, Under-Secretary for the Synod of Bishops highlighted the document’s call for new lay ministries.

“In this sense, one wonders what official ministry can be conferred to the woman,” Fabene said at a Vatican press conference June 17.

He continued, “the document does not speak of the female diaconate, since the pope has already expressed himself on the subject in the Assembly of the Superiors General, declaring that the topic needs further study. In fact, the study commission set up in 2016 did not reach a unanimous opinion on the issue.”

The synod working document, entitled “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology,” is divided into three sections on the Amazonian cultures, environmental and economic problems, and pastoral approaches for the Church in the region.

Calling for “an integral ecological conversion,” the document touches on the issues of migration, deforestation, urbanization, corruption, health, education, and Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation (PIAV).

The document stresses the importance of inculturation of indigenous cultures in the Catholic faith and the liturgy in the region, starting with engagement with indigenous spiritualities.

“It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught to these peoples over the centuries: faith in God the Father-Mother Creator, the sense of communion and harmony with the earth, the sense of solidarity with one’s companions …  the living relationship with nature and ‘Mother Earth,’ the resilience of women,” paragraph 121 of the document states.

Recommending that the Church “recognize indigenous spirituality as a source of wealth for the Christian experience,” and the document calls for dialogue with “the Amazonian cosmovision” to be included in formation for religious life.

Monsignor Fabene described inculturation in the liturgy in the region as “a better integration of the symbols and celebratory styles of indigenous cultures … taking into account music and dance, languages ​​and native clothes.”

“Recognition and dialogue will be the best way to transform the ancient relations marked by exclusion and discrimination,” paragraph 35 states. In several places, the document refers to “the wounds caused during long periods of colonization.”

“For this Pope Francis asked ‘humbly for forgiveness, not only for the offenses of his own Church, but for crimes against indigenous peoples during the conquest of so-called America.’  In this past, the Church has sometimes been complicit in the colonization and this has stifled the prophetic voice of the Gospel,” paragraph 38 states.

The document also stresses the importance of having greater respect for the dignity and rights of indigenous populations in the area today.

“The Church cannot but worry about the integral salvation of the human person, which involves promoting the culture of indigenous peoples, talking about their vital needs, accompanying movements and joining forces to defend their rights,” paragraph 143 states.

The synod document therefore recommends that Catholics in the region, “join the basic social movements, to prophetically announce a program of agrarian justice that promotes a profound agrarian reform, supporting farming organic and agroforestry.”

Participants in the special synod of the Amazon will include residential bishops and ordinaries of the nine Pan-Amazonian ecclesiastical territories in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname; the presidents of the seven bishops’ conferences of the Pan-Amazonian Region; members for the Roman Curia; the president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM); and the members of the pre-Synodal Council.

Upon the working document’s publication June 17, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, said:

“The image of a Church with an Amazonian face, courageous in its prophetic proclamation of the Gospel in defense of Creation and of indigenous peoples, is the horizon towards which we are walking under the guidance of Pope Francis.”


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6 Comments

  1. If past synods offer any clues, the possible ordination of married men (“mature”, but not trained for the priesthood?), while problematic enough, is possibly only a decoy for something else yet to be unveiled. The synod on youth, at the end, was morphed into an authorization for synodality with undefined boundaries (possibly doctrinal and “binding” within national boundaries [!] as already announced/intended by Cardinal Marx of Germany?)
    Near the end of the Amazonian synod, I wonder, will we abruptly see proposed added wording for an un-discussed vote on ambiguously-open access to the Eucharist—a middle-step between an assembled Eucharistic Church and a Protestant congregation? “Mother-Father Creator”?

  2. “The image of a Church with an Amazonian face, courageous in its prophetic proclamation of the Gospel in defense of Creation and of indigenous peoples, is the horizon towards which we are walking under the guidance of Pope Francis.”

    Or with an American face, a German face etc…with Redemption and Salvation redefined.

  3. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    [The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”]

  4. ““Stating that celibacy is a gift for the Church, we ask that” it be thrown away.

    “recommends that the synod identify ‘an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.'”

    If they’re already playing a central role, they don’t need an “official ministry.”

    “document calls for dialogue with “the Amazonian cosmovision” to be included in formation for religious life.”

    Anybody calling for “dialogue” with a “cosmovision” shouldn’t be listened to.

    “It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught to these peoples over the centuries: faith in God the Father-Mother Creator”

    Strange, I must have missed the part where Jesus called God “Mother.”

    ““The Church cannot but worry about the integral salvation of the human person, which involves promoting the culture of indigenous peoples,”

    Surely that depends on the culture? Why would one promote something that is not good, just because it’s part of an indigenous culture?

    “to prophetically announce a program of agrarian justice”

    “Prophetically?” Oh, good grief.

    This sounds like another disaster waiting to happen.

  5. An Amazonian face? Would that include one with human sacrifice and cannibalism? Nakedness, abject poverty, polygamy, ignorance, disease, slavery and continual tribal warfare? The working document, even the very calling of this synod, is a reflection of a Church in grave crisis led by men who do not hold the Catholic Faith. We can only pray for a real Pope someday, who will pronounce anathema on the past 50 years of chaos and corruption, and especially declare the nullity of the Bergoglian papacy.

  6. Now (for years really) that that the social justice approach in Brazil, complete with “Catholic” Bibles that have liberation theology/Marxist footnotes throughout for “clarification” succeeded in pushing so many Brazilians towards more conservative Evangelical denominations I guess this is the next move? Feel free to Google this BTW.

    Will the “Amazonian face” include the ritual use of the hallucinogen ayahuasca as in the “Santo Daime” Christian syncretic religion (originating in the Amazonas region of Brazil)? Will that be a part of the shared “cosmovision?” Will the Spiritual Exercises be offered (8-Day) with an ayahuasca option?

    Check out video on “Santo Daime”:
    https://youtu.be/HWTsI0IQ8t4

    Faith, Reason and Hallucinogens. In part, would explain the “bad trip” of this papacy. But really…this ongoing deformation…it’s too systematic.

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