The Pope has decided not to open the door to the ordination of married men in remote areas of the world. Measure, whose study approved the Synod of the Amazon held in October and that has generated a huge dust in the Vatican in recent months, will not be included in the apostolic exhortation Dear Amazon that the Holy See will present today under great expectation.
The reform project arose from the need to take the Eucharist and the sacraments to places where there are no longer priests, but it became a huge controversy about the possible end of celibacy in the Catholic Church. A theme that has even clouded the peaceful rest of Benedict XVI and has brought poisonous winds of schism to RomeFrancisco, however, has decided to postpone the matter and has avoided pronouncing openly in the text about it.
The Pope met yesterday with some American bishops and according to what they told the CNS news agency (owned by the US Episcopal Conference), the expected document will not include the opening to the ordination of married men or the female diaconate .
During the meeting with the prelates of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, the Pope would have indicated that the result of the exhortation will generate disappointment among those waiting for the aforementioned reform, which was approved by the assembly of the synod held in October at the Vatican.
The debate on the role of women in the Church also permeated part of the discussions of the Synod of the Amazon held in October.
The assembly recommended by a large majority (82%) to study the possibility of ordering women deaconesses to administer certain sacraments. While the Apostolic exhortation of the Pope would now underline the role of some lay people in religious life and recognize the relevant role of women in maintaining religious life in certain remote communities, point out knowledgeable sources of the exhortation, reserve a role for remote women of the sacred order. An aspect that can disappoint certain open sectors of the Church.
According to the statements made by the archbishop of Santa Fe, John C. Wester to the CNS agency, the subject is postponed: “In a very calm and very kind way, the Pope told us: ‘Well, that point was not really an important point ‘. The basis of his argument was something like this: ‘I don’t think it’s a topic we are going to move on at this moment because I haven’t felt that the Holy Spirit is working on it right now.”
The final text, as indicated by Vatican sources, will focus on environmental, cultural, social and political issues that endanger and oppress the peoples of the Amazon. The document, relatively brief and structured in a hundred points, would also openly address the serious lack of vocations and priests in that territory and the need to increase the functions and preparation of the laity to keep the religious life of the community safe. . But I would reserve the Eucharist, a key element in this matter, to the priests already ordained.
Lack of priests
The assembly of bishops held in October was aimed at discussing the protection of the environment in the Amazon, about the indigenous communities that inhabit it and about the possibility of ordering married women and men to replace the lack of priests. This last point was voted in favor by 128 members and against by 40. Each of the points in the final document should be approved by at least two thirds (120) of the bishops present.
A scraped support, in short, with respect to that obtained by the rest of the proposals, but sufficient for the Pope to decide his approval in the apostolic exhortation. The possibility of ordering deaconesses was also strongly answered, but Francisco announced that he would reactivate the study commission.
The ultraconservative sector of the Church reacted instantly. The more traditionalist wing, headed from within the Vatican by Robert Sarah, cardinal of the Republic of Guinea and prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments – something like the head of the liturgy of the Pope -, put in March all the media machinery to press against. In fact, Sarah himself was the protagonist a month ago of a controversial sound by publishing a book, supposedly in line with Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, in favor of celibacy and against the measure that Francisco studied (the final text of the exhortation would have been delivered at the end of December, even if it is dated February 2, the day its printing was approved).
The publication in France of the book —From the depths of our hearts– It was an earthquake in the Vatican. Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Georg Gänswein, was forced to deny that the emeritus pope was aware of the matter and had given his authorization to publish his texts and an introduction with Sarah’s. Also that he had agreed to have his signature appear on the cover as co-author. Some of the documents provided by Sarah suggested otherwise and Gänswein has been removed from its main functions and assigned to other tasks in recent weeks.
The exasperated debate around viri probati it has not allowed to analyze with clarity the real scope of a measure that, in fact, could not be so novel. If approved at some point, it would be very specific, but critics with Francisco, among whom is also his previous prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Müller, consider that it would be the first step to “abolish celibacy. ” However, Benedict XVI himself also admitted exceptions by allowing married Anglican priests to be part of the Catholic Church.