[The importance of an upcoming synod in Rome, which will include discussion of married clerics in parts of South America, is obvious: if accepted in the Amazon, married priests may one day also be allowed in Europe, Canada, and the U.S., where there are also, or are about to be, similar priest shortages, made worse by the sex-abuse crisis. In fact, the dearth of seminarians may have been one reason bishops so consistently moved problem priests around — simply separating them from youngsters with whom they had interacted instead of laicizing them. Meanwhile, the rise of deacons may also pave the way to consideration of clerical reconfiguration everywhere, until seminaries undergo radical transformation and enrollment returns to what it was more than half a century ago, before the watershed events, in our culture as well as the Church, during the 1960s. Under the radar is a proposed synod of German bishops who may defy the Vatican, which has said a binding synod of those bishops would not be ecclesiastically binding and has sought to rein in any radical agenda. Schism? Stay tuned…]
The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region is scheduled to meet in Rome from 6 to 27 October 2019. Pope Francis announced on 15 October 2017 that it would work “to identify new paths for the evangelization of God’s people in that region”, specifically the indigenous peoples who are “often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future.”
The obstacles to evangelization include the difficult terrain that makes native populations hard to reach,the great variety of languages spoken, and the resistance of landowners and business interests. The Amazon basin, according to one Vatican report, covers some 6,000,000 km2, with a population of 2.8 million divided among 400 tribes that “speak some 240 languages belonging to 49 linguistic families.”
The Synod defines the region to include all or parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela, and Suriname, most of which are countries where most of the population is Roman Catholic. Pope John Paul II called similar synods for the Netherlands in 1980 and for Lebanon in 1995.
Visiting Brazil in July 2013, Pope Francis said: “The Church’s presence in the Amazon Basin is not that of someone with bags packed and ready to leave after having exploited everything possible. The Church has been present in the Amazon Basin from the beginning, in her missionaries, religious congregations, priests, laity and bishops, and she is still present and critical to the area’s future.” Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si‘ (2015), focused on the need to defend the poor and their natural environment. A synod is a council of a Church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning “assembly” or “meeting.” and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning “council.”
From Catholic New Agency:
Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communications in the Vatican, said that married priests will be a subject of discussion during the upcoming synod of bishops on the Amazon, which will take place October 6-27 in Rome, but noted that the synod does not have the power to make decisions on the matter.
“The synod will discuss the possibility, for territories like the Amazon, to propose the ordination of married men. That is, the ordination of catechists, older persons who already have a role of responsibility in several communities. But it’s not a decision already made, nor is it certain that they synod will arrive at that decision.” Tornielli said in an interview Sept. 19. “In any case it would not be a decision of the synod but it would be a decision of the Pope,” Tornielli said in the interview, which was published on the Facebook page of the Brazilian bishops’ conference.
From National Catholic Register:
VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego are among those chosen by Pope Francis as synod fathers in next month’s Amazon Synod.
A full list of the 185 participantsin the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazonian Region was published by the Vatican Sept. 21. The synod is set to take place Oct. 6-27.
Among those taking part are 33 bishops nominated by Pope Francis, including Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop McElroy, the only two U.S. bishops to be synod fathers in the Amazon Synod. The three president delegates of the synod are Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, apostolic administrator of Caracas and archbishop of Merida in Venezuela; Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, archbishop of Huancayo in Peru and vice president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM); and Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
SARAYAKU, Ecuador – Ever since Pope Francis convoked a summit of bishops on the Amazon, the question of ordaining married men has been both a cause for hope among some and a source of trepidation among others.
Francis has been clear he’s not doing away with priestly celibacy, but when it comes to the ordination of the so-called viri probati, meaning married men of proven virtue, he’s been less definitive, allowing the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops to ponder that question. The Amazon region – technically a “biome” – includes nine countries in Latin America: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
Since its release in June, the instrumentum laboris or working document for the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region has provoked fierce criticism from some segments of the Catholic Church, with responses from influential cardinals and petitions against it circulating on the internet. But in Brazil, where most of the Amazon rainforest is located, there was little controversy about the aims and ambitions of the working document, “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.” The reasons for that can be found in history, culture and language, say local theologians.
German Cardinals Walter Brandmüeller and Gerhard Müeller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until 2017, both presented extended critiques of the working document. Cardinal Brandmüeller objected to the terminology of parts of the document, particularly formulations like “Mother Earth” and “the cry of the earth and of the poor.” In his opinion, such choice of words reflects an anti-rational reproach of the Western culture, leading to a “pantheistic idolatry of nature.”
From National Catholic Register:
VATICAN CITY — Two cardinals have sent letters to fellow members of the College of Cardinals, raising concerns about the working document for an upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon Region.
“Some points of the synod’s Instrumentum laboris seem not only in dissonance with respect to the authentic teaching of the Church, but even contrary to it,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller wrote to fellow cardinals in an Aug. 28 letter obtained by CNA. The synod is scheduled to take place in Rome Oct. 6-27.
“The nebulous formulations of the Instrumentum, as well as the proposed creation of new ecclesial ministries for women and, especially, the proposed priestly ordination of the so-called viri probati arouse strong suspicion that even priestly celibacy will be called into question,” the cardinal wrote.
ROME – Soon-to-be Cardinal Michael Czerny, one of Pope Francis’s top aides who serves as both the public face of Francis’s agenda for migrants and refugees and who is also playing a key role in organizing next month’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, has said he’s not worried about the criticism the summit is generating.
In Czerny’s view, the global attention the synod is getting, even if at times negative, is a sign of how important its agenda is. Speaking to the press during the Sept. 20 presentation of a new “Amazon: Common Home” project, Czerny said, “We welcome the interest in this synod,” adding that the buzz over certain talking points, such as married priests, is “already something interesting.”
The Vatican published the list of participants in its upcoming pan-Amazon Synod Saturday, which includes as “special invitee” Jeffrey D. Sachs, who is among the world’s foremost proponents of population control.
In his 2008 book Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, Sachs argued for legalizing abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails. Abortion, he wrote, is a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than having unwanted children born into the world.
From the National Catholic Reporter:
Included in Francis’ personal choices as members of the Amazon synod are:
- Each of the members of the Council of Cardinals;
- Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn;
- Papua New Guinea Cardinal John Ribat;
- Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life;
- Italian Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica; and,
- Fr. Claudio Siquihua Perez, a parish priest in Aucayo, Peru.
- [For Full Story]