TODAY announced this morning, 10/28/2019, that bishops from the Amazon area of the Catholic church are wanting to change an ancient rite of an ancient people. If passed, this would change history and revolutionize the priesthood.
A gathering of bishops at the Vatican recommended on Saturday that Pope Francis loosen the celibacy requirement for priests in South America’s Amazon region—a step that would lead to the Roman Catholic Church ordaining married men on a routine basis for the first time in 1,000 years.
In the sparsely populated Amazon, they said some Catholic communities are waiting “not just months but even several years” for a visit from a priest.
Bishop Thomas Reese, S.J. suggests the following requirements have to be met for those considered as priests:
- Suitable and recognized as men of the community.
- Have a legally constituted and stable family.
A three-week-long Vatican gathering, or synod, on the special needs of Catholics in that South American region, featured a vote by a majority of the more than 180 synod bishops who proposed the ordination of married men.
Francis expressed gratitude that the bishops spoke with “sincerity and candor.” He has said he will put his response in writing by year’s end.
Addressing the public in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said he and synod participants felt spurred to “leave comfortable shores” in seeking new ways to carry out the church’s core mission to spread the Catholic faith.
The ultimate decision will be up to the Pope who said on Sunday that “the church must open new roads for the proclamation of the gospel.”
For traditional Catholics, married priests may be a step too far. They already fear this Pope because of his attitude toward gays and lesbians. The Pope may take another look at whether women should be deacons and bishops who can preach, baptize, and lead funeral services. They would not be allowed to hear confessions or celebrate Mass. The bishops are recognizing women are already doing this in remote parts of the world.
Pope Francis said “that door is closed” regarding women’s priestly ordination, affirming the teachings of his predecessors, including Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Ref. NBC/Today, wsj.com, timesunion.com, wikipedia.com
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