The preparatory document for the Synod of Bishops for Pan-Amazonia was published by the Vatican on June 8, 2018.
With its call to “rethink the Church’s limited presence in relation to the immensity of the territory and its cultural diversity”, the Roman document allows the question of ordaining married men to resurface.
The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Pan-Amazonia will take place in Rome in October 2019. The 17-page document published by the Holy See is a work basis, followed by a questionnaire for the peoples concerned by the Synod.
The question of ordaining married men is not brought up explicitly in the text, but it is strongly implied: “new ways should be considered for the People of God to have better and more frequent access to the Eucharist,” explains the report, underlining the need “to foster indigenous and local-born clergy, affirming their own cultural identity and values.”
In a press conference, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, sought to reassure: “This is only a preparatory document and not the working document (Instrumentum Laboris, Ed. Note); I do not know what proposals and suggestions will be sent to us.” The prelate is, however, aware of the impact this document from Rome will have.
It suggests, for example, identifying “the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women.” A proposal that comes as an echo to the broad reflection on female diaconate launched by Pope Francis in May 2016, when he created a committee to study the question of women deacons. Especially after the Brazilian bishop Erwin Kautler also mentioned the possibility of ordaining female deacons, as Bénédicte Lutaud recalled in La Vie on June 8, 2018.
Such a suggestion, if made, would contradict the recent clarifications by Cardinal Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who recalled the infallible nature of the Church’s teaching on the impossibility of women being ordained to the priesthood, which is a major order – just like the diaconate.
Cardinal Baldisseri does not seem to exclude any possibilities and warned that “the Synod provides a place for discussion and research, for the Church does not oppress the intelligence.” An unfathomably poor slogan to hide the abdication of the teaching Church, who prefers to listen to human needs and democratic fashions rather than upholding the revealed Truth and the teaching Christ entrusted to His Spouse.
As for the possibility of ordaining married men – viri probati – Cardinal Baldisseri remains reserved but excludes nothing ahead of time. Quoting the document’s §15 entitled “New Paths”, he did point out that the new paths explored by the Synod “will have repercussions on the ministry, the liturgy, and theology.” An alarming prospect.
Will priestly celibacy, a treasure the Church has held since apostolic times, be sacrificed? One thing is sure: the document published on June 8 is full of a vagueness that recalls the method of Amoris Laetitia, leaving many doors open. Please God they will not prove to be so many cracks through which the smoke of Satan will filter in.