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Pope dismisses proposal to ordain family men as priests in Amazon

Pope dismisses proposal to ordain family men as priests in Amazon

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday dismissed a proposition to enable some family men to be ordained in remote locations, reaffirming the Roman Catholic Church’s centuries-old dedication to celibacy amongst priests.

The decision, among the most considerable of his papacy, appeared a success for conservative senior clergy, who had actually feared a domino effect towards a married priesthood throughout the Church if the recommendation was authorized.

It was put forward by Latin American bishops as a way of easing an intense lack of priests in the Amazon area, and gone by 128 votes to 41 at a contentious Vatican assembly, or synod, of Roman Catholic bishops.

3 months after that vote, Francis provided his reaction, neglecting the proposal entirely in an Apostolic Exhortation, a system utilized to instruct and encourage the Catholic faithful but not to define Church doctrine.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Vatican’s former chief doctrinal authorities and a leading conservative critic of the pope, called it “a document of reconciliation”.

He and others had branded as heretical synod files that consisted of the proposition, which looked for to enable older married deacons who are proven leaders of remote Catholic neighborhoods and have stable households to be ordained as priests.


The issue of married priests has actually been a focus of deep departments within the Church, and Vatican sources say it is now most likely to languish for the rest of Francis’s papacy.

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That marks a problem for the progressives who have invited his reformist position on some social problems, such as being more welcoming to separated Catholics and homosexuals and – with cautions – his desire to confront a tradition of sexual abuse within the Church.

In what some considered as a tactically timed interest Francis not to approve the Amazon proposition, a book released last month by Church conservatives defended the custom of priestly celibacy.

” From the Depths of Our Hearts” was co-authored by Cardinal Robert Sarah and Former Pope Benedict, though Francis’ predecessor consequently disassociated himself from the project.

Vatican officials stated the pope finished the Admonition on Dec. 27, before the book controversy, and handed it in for translations. They said no changes were made after that.

Pope Francis kisses a child throughout the weekly basic audience at the Vatican, February 12,2020 REUTERS/Remo Casilli

The 83- year-old Argentine pope wrote that brand-new ways need to be discovered to motivate more priests to operate in the remote region, and allow broadened functions for females, lay people and long-term deacons, of whom the Amazon required “a lot more”.

Deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers. They can preach, teach, baptise and run parishes, however they can not say Mass. Married guys can end up being deacons.

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Due to the fact that only priests can state Mass, people in a minimum of 85%of Amazon villages can not participate in the liturgy weekly and some can not do so for years.

In his document, Francis recommended solutions to solve the lack of priests that his conservative critics had made, such as wishing more occupations and sending more priests currently in the nine Amazon basin nations to remote areas instead of abroad.

” This immediate requirement leads me to advise all bishops, particularly those in Latin America … to be more generous in encouraging those who display a missionary vocation to choose the Amazon area,” he wrote.

At a press conference presenting the file, Cardinal Michael Czerny, who was the synod’s secretary, acknowledged that the pope had actually listened to a few of the options proposed by his critics.

” Yes this (file) is reconciling, this is tough, this is stimulating,” he said.

Pope Francis blesses a child throughout the weekly general audience at the Vatican, February 12,2020 REUTERS/Remo Casilli

The problem of celibacy has been talked about in other countries with a lack of priests, including developed ones such as Germany, and some Eastern Catholic rites currently allow married men to be priests.

Frances used the very first 3 chapters of the document to reiterate his longstanding defence of the rights and traditions of native people and the environment in the Amazon, which he said needed to be secured.

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Reporting By Philip Pullella; modifying by John Stonestreet

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