Currents News Staff
The Vatican has recently presented its working document for the Synod on Panama, entitled ‘Amazon: New Roads for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.’
The document will serve as the basic text for conversations bishops in the area will have with Pope Francis in October.
“Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church,” reads one of the proposals, “it is requested that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination be studied for elderly people, preferably indigenous, who are respected and accepted by their community; even if they already have a constituted and stable family.”
“The purpose is to ensure the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” the document explains.
This refers to the so-called “viri probati,” old men of proven faith, from small Catholic communities in areas where there are no priests for long periods.
A suggestion from the indigenous communities in the area, the proposal would be limited to remote areas.
They ask to imitate the attitude of “the primitive Church when it responded to their needs by creating the appropriate ministries.”
When he returned from Panama, Pope Francis already spoke about celibacy and opened the door to this possibility.
“A phrase by St. Paul VI comes to mind,” Pope Francis said, “‘I prefer to give my life before changing the law on celibacy.’”
“There would be some possibility to change it only for remote places, like the Pacific Islands, he clarified.
“It is something that must be considered when there is a pastoral need, the pastor must think of his faithful ones.”
One of the Synod’s objectives is to warn about indifference to how the ecosystem is suffering.
The Synod will begin in October and will gather a hundred bishops from the area and from other places involved in caring for the Amazon, the lungs of the world.