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Priestly celibacy discussed as Amazon synod gets underway

Cardinal Robert Sarah and Cardinal Peter Turkson are reported to have spoken out during the synod’s deliberations in favor of retaining the discipline of priestly celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church.

Pope Francis leads a session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 8, 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Vatican City, Oct 8, 2019 / 01:45 pm (CNA).- Some participants at the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon have responded critically to a proposal that the Church ordain married men – so called viri probati – in response to a shortage of priestly vocations in the Amazon region of South America.

A source inside the synod told CNA that Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, spoke out during the synod’s deliberations in favor of retaining the discipline of priestly celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church.

Turkson reportedly told synod participants that promoting vocations to the priesthood is the best way to address a shortage of priests, rather than doing away with the requirement of celibacy.

The cardinals spoke during the synod in response to a proposal to ordain older, respected married men in Amazon communities infrequently visited by a priest. The discussion is a part of the Oct. 6-27 meeting of bishops from the Amazon and other parts of the world, convened to discuss the Church’s ministry and presence in the region.

The synod participant told CNA that a “significant number” of bishops at the meeting have expressed support for married clergy, and, in one case, for the priestly ordination of women, an idea Pope Francis has repeatedly said is not possible.

The source added that five other bishops have spoken in favor of clerical celibacy: Bishop Vital Corbellini and Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Brazil, Bishops Emiliano Antonio Cisneros Martinez and Rafael Alfonson Escudero Lopez-Brea of Pero, and Bishop Waldo Ruben Barrionuevo Ramirez of Bolivia.

At an Oct. 8 press conference, held on the second day of the synod’s deliberations, Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican’s communications office, said that the synod’s fathers hold diverse views on questions regarding priestly ministry in the Amazon.

“Everyone says there is a question and a need to find an answer, but the answers aren’t the same.” Ruffini said.

Ruffini said that regardless of questions regarding marriage and the priesthood, there is a need for greater formation among priests and laity in the Amazon region, including priestly formation offered with understanding and sensitivity toward the various cultural groups of the Amazon.

The synod will conclude with a set of recommendations to Pope Francis regarding the Church’s life and ministry in the Amazon region, which stretches across nine countries in South America


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12 Comments

  1. There’s absolutely. NO reason to change the church teaching and to remain with Priest in celibacy. This would create more havoc amongst the ministry of the Church. Lastly absolutely no to women Priest that’s an abomination. Christ never intended to such act

    • David,,the catholic church must change this ridiculous man made rule that is not church dogma at all. Mandatory celibacy was brought in just for control and power over priests..only to make big money in the church. They did not want priests to leave their inheritance to their wives and children,,when they past away they had to leave it all to the church. Mandatory celibacy brought destuction in the church with evil..sexual secrets and most priests hungry for sex..became sex deprieved and have been sexually molesting innocent youths for the past 1,000 years!! It is enough!! The original roots of the roman catholic church was…optional celibacy,,came into the line of the very first christian priests the disciples of Jesus..whom were married men.,,with families of their own. Jesus did not deny them to be celibate..including the very first pope st.peter..who had a mother in law. Mandatoryc celibacy brought only evil sex secrets and control over priests..enough of this. Priests are not robots as the church expects them to be. No one on this earth has the right to deny marriage to any man,,not even priests..they are men,too!!! The priests have the right to choose whether they want to remain celibate or become married priests. Only homosexual priests tha thave no feelings for woman will want to remain celibate..the normal men will mostly want to be married. Many priests have been living a double life for the past 1,000 years..even popes from the past had double lives and were sexually active with illigitimate children all over the place. To control priests for money making business they put in this evil rule for all priests..so they were not able to be married. Look how many priests have left for love and marriage. They are the real married priests..they would jump at the chance to return to the altar..but pope francis will not allow it..he should allow it!!!! It is way past time this old fashion,,evil dinosaur rule ends..and the church can be free with its’ orignal roots of optional celibacy for all priests again. Mandatory celibacy is monastic..and let me tell you..not even monks and nuns are not celibate,,they too lead double lives..pope francis and the old fashion ignoran people should think of the innocent victims of these sex deprieved monster priests. So many priest in the past have raped nuns..and they became pregnant and were forced to abort their babies from the priests themselves..how shameful!!!! If optional celibacy is not brought back..the roman catholic church will be destroyed!!!!!

      • Mary,
        You know, as Catholics we have better resources than Freud. “Repression” isn’t the source of all evils & sacrifice doesn’t mean the same thing as repression.

      • So sorry you feel this way……a priest who is “sex starved” will not be content with marriage…the “lustful. sex starved” man has no place in the Priesthood. To blame pedophilia and sexual abuse on celibacy is naive. The majority of sexual abuse occurs in families, by married men and male married relatives. This fascination with the celibacy issue is just a ploy to divert attention from the homoheretic clergy who are the true evil in our Church.

      • Mary, it might be helpful to you read St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in which he has much to say on priestly celibacy, marriage. The Church has never been dogmatically opposed to priestly celibacy and we must remember that those men entering Holy Orders make a choice to enter the priestly life rather than Married life. A fact that many laity seem to ignore as they seek to impose their “opinions” on a state that is a personal choice. Further, Christ the first Priest of the Church was celibate.

  2. A half a century after the 21st ecumenical council of the Church, we read “that a ‘significant number’ of bishops at the meeting [Amazonian synod] have expressed support for married clergy, and, in one case, for the priestly ordination of women, an idea Pope Francis has repeatedly said is not possible.”

    In a not-so-different situation, half a century after the first ecumenical council of the Church (Nicaea), St. Jerome announced of ‘a significant number’ his brother bishops that “the whole world groaned to find itself Arian.”

    And as reported in other Amazonia coverage, surely some head-table bishop in Jerome’s day also barked, of the steadfast minority, that they “should be heard, but cannot be allowed a veto.”

  3. Who are these Bishops who want to ordain women as Priests or Deacons? Are they paragons of Catholic holiness and selflessly brave to defend the True Catholic Faith before a world gone sinfully insane? Who are these women who want to become Priests or Deacons? Are they great examples of Catholic holiness and selflessly brave to defend the unborn against abortion and the family against the homosexual hybridization of good and evil? Are they the best of the best of Catholics or are they the most mediocre, approval-seeking and compromising of Catholics?

    As another commenter said, the heresy of Arianism (Jesus is not God) is essential for this destructive push because it takes all authority away from Christ and into the hands of obssesive, sentimentalist, God-hating, tyrannical activists. Jesus, True God and True Man, did not ever ordain any woman as Apostle, not even the holiest of holiest of women, His very own Mother Mary!! How do these women who want to be Priests compare to Mary?

    Adam stayed silent and allowed Eve to run a sinful, unrepentant leadership in Eden and we have suffered a tsunami of horrific historical suffering. Female clergy in Protestant churches has been likewise a total monumental disaster. We absolutely need women in the Church, women like the Virgin Mary, who absolutely did not need any leadership position at all to be a very top and most powerful star in the Holy Church of God!! Now that’s a REAL woman!!

  4. What benefits are received by the church in following celibacy, this is the core point, which ought to be discussed, in the historical perspective and the changing world scenario of the modern technologies today.

  5. Celibacy should be done away with there is nothing wrong with a married Priest. I know many priests who are married and they turn out to be great priests. I have a friend who is an Eastern Catholic Priest and he is married to a Roman Catholic lady, he is a straight-laced very strong Catholic faith kind of guy with his family. In the early Church Priests and Bishops were married it was the Roman Church who made changes to what was the norm at one time. The Roman Catholic Church would far better off then wher she finds herself at this time.

    • The Catholic Church had married priests until 1058. The men ready to become priest, should be allowed to choose, before ordination, never after, to be married or celibate. During the first 5 centuries, the Universal Church had even married bishops. Women cannot be ordain priests because the divine revelation does not prescribe this.

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