Pope Francis explained that a synod of bishops is a “spiritual exercise,” a period for discernment of how the Holy Spirit is speaking, and for self-examination regarding the motive beyond positions.
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The Holy See has not confirmed a Brazilian website’s claim that the new conference, which was recommended last fall in the Amazon Synod’s final report, is about to be announced.
Pope Francis wrote in Querida Amazonia that when considering the role of women in the Church, “we do not limit ourselves to a functional approach.”
While he expressed gratitude that the document itself did not call into question clerical celibacy or recommend ordaining women deacons, he identifies a number of aspects that are problematic.
COMMENTARY: Progressives the world over were bitterly disappointed by the seeming sense of betrayal by Pope Francis. At the same time, though, the Holy Father did not reject the proposal.
In this draft, which was leaked last week, a section on viri probati said “the competent authority should establish criteria and provisions to ordain” married men to the priesthood.
While the draft leaked last week is far from the finished article, the wording of the text already suggests that a commission will be the next step.
In a letter circulated privately to bishops, the Brazilian cardinal advises the document is on schedule to be promulgated later this month or in early February.
The initiative referred to is a newly announced book on priestly celibacy and the crisis in the Church and priesthood, co-authored by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is head of the pope’s liturgical office.