The 2019 Amazon Synod may lead to married priests and women d

A retired , who led Brazil’s largest territorial diocese for some 34 years, says he’s hoping the 2019 special Synod for the Pan-Amazon region will lead to the ordination of married men to the priesthood and women to the permanent diaconate.

Nov 10, 2017

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt
A retired , who led Brazil’s largest territorial diocese for some 34 years, says he’s hoping the 2019 special Synod for the Pan-Amazon region will lead to the ordination of married men to the priesthood and women to the permanent diaconate.

Bishop Erwin Kräutler, an Austrian-born missionary who headed the sprawling Diocese of Xingu in the Brazilian rain forest from 1981-2015, told Kathpress that the “horrendous” priest shortage has left the indigenous people of the Amazon deprived of the Eucharist.

The 78-year-old bishop, who is still secretary of the Brazilian bishops’ commission for the Amazon region, said in an October 19th interview with the Austrian Catholic news agency,that this disastrous pastoral situation means 90 per cent of the Catholic faithful in the region could not celebrate the Eucharist regularly.

Bishop Kräutler said Catholics in the Amazon were limited to celebrating the Liturgy of the Word services. He said this, in turn, was driving them to join Evangelical Protestant communities that are growing rapidly in Latin America.

“They see hardly any difference between their Services of the Word and Evangelical Sunday services,” he said.

The bishop said finding ways to address the priest shortage would be one of the main topics of the special Synod gathering for the Pan-Amazon region. He said criteria for admission to the priesthood must be modified to allow for the ordination of married men. And he added that, since women now head many of the small Catholic communities, it’s also urgent to ordain female deacons.

Bishop Kräutler said attempts to find other solutions to address the clergy shortage, such as moving priests from southern Brazil to the northern regions, had not proven overly successful. Many of those who transferred, he said, found it exceedingly difficult to adapt to the Amazonian culture.

He made his remarks to Kathpress just one day after Pope Francis formally announced plans to hold the synod in 2019 at the Vatican — officially called the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. The Pope said “several bishops’ conferences in Latin America, as well as many bishops and faithful from other parts of the world,” had urged him to convene the meeting.

Bishop Kräutler said this showed Francis’ determination to strengthen episcopal collegiality.

“The principal aim of this convocation is to identify new paths for evangelising that portion of the People of God, especially the indigenous who are often forgotten and left without any prospects of a peaceful future,” the Pope said in his Sunday Angelus address on October 15th.

They will get that opportunity in October 2019 at the special Synod assembly at the Vatican. --LCI (international.la-croix.com)

Total Comments:0

Name
Email
Comments