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News > Italy

Vatican: Amazon Synod Debates Allowing Married Men to be Priests

  • Pope Francis presides over procession at the start of the Synod of Amazonian bishops at the Vatican, Oct. 7, 2019.

    Pope Francis presides over procession at the start of the Synod of Amazonian bishops at the Vatican, Oct. 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 October 2019

The Synod of Bishops is pushing for the priestly ordination in the Amazon of married men of proven faith

During the Amazon Synod at the Vatican on Saturday, bishops discussed controversial issues that could transform the Catholic Church. Among them is the possibility of allowing married men to become priests.


Brazil: Amazonian Indigenous Leaders Visit Pope Francis

According to Pan-Amazon Synod documents, some within the sect want to allow married men to be ordained so that there are more priests within remote areas of the Amazon basin.

However, according to the Synod official summary from Saturday's official discussions, ultra-conservative sectors criticized the ordination of married men, the so-called 'viri probati'. 

The far-right Catholic activists have also taken advantage of the Synod to remember that the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT) emerged with the support of priests linked to "the liberation theology."

"'The Catholic Church criticizes deforestation but invests in mining and weapons.' That was the criticism of the Amazon Synod made by the Palmas archbishop Pedro Brito Guimaraes."

Official minutes from the meetings indicated that some bishops are in favor of the request from Amazonian communities have priests in their territories in order to receive the Eucharist, which they see as "an inalienable right of the faithful."

"Some Synod parents ask that, in order to ensure sacraments, men of mature and respected faith, preferably indigenous, single or with an established and stable family, be ordained," the summary reads.

They argue that Canon law allows the Vatican to request "a man legitimately and validly married" to give sacraments.

Other bishops believe that, besides reducing the value of celibacy, such a proposal would affect the current situation of the Catholic Church around the world, and request that a "Universal Synod" be called for in order for international Church representatives to discuss the matter. 

Another proposal is to ask Pope Francis to accept, under exceptionally and clearly established reasons, "the possibility" of allowing married men to become priests "for the Amazon region and for certain specific peoples."

Other bishops proposed to allow the Panamazonian Episcopal Conferences to decide who is made priest and who is not. The Synod's final decision will be presented to the pontiff.


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