Vatican Formally Opens Debate on Married Priests

Source: Premier
The Vatican has formally opened debate on letting married men be ordained as priests in remote parts of the Amazon where priests are so few that Catholics can go weeks or months without attending a mass.
Pravmir.com team | 17 June 2019

The call for study on the proposal was contained in the working document, released on Monday, for an October meeting of South American bishops on the Amazon.

The document, prepared by the Vatican based on input from the region, affirmed that celibacy is a gift for the Catholic Church.

But it suggested officials study “the possibility of priestly ordination for older men, preferably indigenous and respected and accepted by their communities, even if they have stable families, for the region’s most remote areas”.

The idea of ordaining so-called “viri probati” – married men of proven virtue – has been around for decades to cope with a priest shortage and decline in vocations overall.

Brazil’s bishops have long pushed for the Church to consider ordaining viri probati to minister in remote parts of the Amazon where by some estimates there is one priest for every 10,000 Catholics.

The celibacy question has been a mainstay in Catholic debate given it is a discipline, not a doctrine, and therefore can change.

 

The Catholic Church has had the tradition since the 11th century, imposed in part to spare the Church the financial burdens of providing for large families and to ensure that any assets of the priest would pass to the Church, not his heirs.

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