Pope Francis Puts Married Priests on the Agenda of the Amazon Synod

The British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported today that Pope Francis has opened the way for a discussion of clerical celibacy at the upcoming Synod on the Amazon.

Pope Francis has requested a debate over allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests, in a controversial move that is likely to outrage conservatives in the Church, Vatican sources say.

The pontiff took the decision to put a partial lifting of priestly celibacy up for discussion and a possible vote by Brazilian bishops following a request made by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the president of  the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon, Il Messaggero newspaper quoted the sources saying.

This would reverse expectations of Mauricio López, Executive Secretary of REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, who commented only a few days ago that priestly celibacy “is not for us to discuss, or even comment on.”

Cardinal Hummes made the request in response to the acute priest shortage.

You can read the whole story here.

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10 comments

  1. I am hoping that Eastern Catholics (specifically their eparchs) rise up and demand that a Roman married clergy not be allowed in territories where they are present because of the scandal it would cause to their faithful (who have been denied their tradition of married clergy by Roman bishops).

  2. If the Pope Francis is going to allow married clergy no matter what the synod reports, then he should do so. No use asking a question if the answer doesn’t make any difference.

  3. View from the pew
    Regarding: “Pope Francis has requested a debate over allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests, in a controversial move that is likely to outrage conservatives in the Church, Vatican sources say.”
    – It is true that always there is someone who is upset.
    – Perhaps the best way to proceed is to say to parishes, “will you support a married priest and his family”. If the answer is yes, then prepare and ordain the male head of the family, while also providing theology education to the spouse.
    – Many parishes are already accustom to married clergy; albeit that the married deacons tend to be volunteers, rather than salaried parish staff.
    – One thing for sure, each parish may not make the same mistake about salaries that it did when the makeup of their schools (usually grammar, sometimes secondary) teaching staffs became single and married lay people.; paying the laity as if they were long suffering consecrated religious who were expected to live on monthly stipends and ‘gifts’ to their pantries.
    – The married presbyter should not receive the same salary as the then underpaid consecrated staff of brothers, or sisters. Rather the salary should reflect what is needed to cover the cost of educating his children in Catholic schools, cover the cost of retirement, as well as allow a reasonable lifestyle not devoid of comfort.
    – If the parish is in a mission diocese, then the priest and his family must adapt to the circumstances while the bishop ensures that the family does not suffer a poverty that belongs to vowed religious, or sadly, is creagtes destitution.

  4. All of these things have been managed by Lutheran parishes for, what, 500 years now. We’d be more than happy to help to introduce these arrangements.

    1. So far as I know, Mgr Krautler and other Amazonian Bishops rather have in mind the proposal of Mgr Fritz Lobinger, retired Bishop of Aliwal in South Africa: Teams of Elders, as was the custom in the early Church. That is, collegiality even in the leadership of small communities. An individual married priest would not be really a pastoral solution, but would only perpetuate the clericalism in the Church.

      1. If I recall correctly, the proposal specified that the team of married elders (priests) would operate under the supervision of a celibate priest. The elders would not be moveable but the priests would serve the entire diocese. It sounds mostly like the married clergy would be simplex priests of some type.

        Depending on your definition of clericalism, I don’t think the proposal would impact the hierarchical nature of ministry.

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