Pan-Amazonian synod to discuss women’s, married men’s ministries

Next year’s Pan-Amazonian synod will cover issues including the environment, evangelisation and the possibility of opening official ministries to women and married men.

The synod will be called “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”

At a press conference about the synod’s preparatory document, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said:

“We don’t want to preclude anything” although “the Church is currently in its classical position” concerning women’s and married men’s ordination.

Baldisseri is the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.

While the document makes no direct mention of the viri probati, meaning married priests, it focuses on the need for a “Church with an Amazonian face”.

The Church must discover new ways to provide the Eucharist and pastoral support to the people of the Amazon, especially indigenous people threatened by forced displacement and exploitation, the document says.

It goes on to say a priority will be to propose “new ministries and services for the different pastoral agents, ones which correspond to activities and responsibilities within the community.

“Along these lines, it is necessary to identify the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women, taking into account the central role which women play today in the Amazonian Church”.

Baldisseri explained: “The emphasis on women — that they should have a space in the church — doesn’t come from” the preparatory document.

“We can listen to the pope who said that there must be space for women in the church at all levels”.

In the context of married priests, Baldisseri said that the scope should not be limited to viri probati, which he said can be interpreted in many ways, and “there can also be other ministries” that could be created ad hoc.

“The Church is not static … there is possibility of movement”, he added.

But he urged patience and caution. “Let’s leave the time necessary for reflection about everything that is in here”.

The document ends with a 30-point questionnaire.

Members of the Church in the Amazon have been invited to give their opinion of the main challenges facing the area.


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