"So, for me, that is the very first significance of celibacy, and of priestly celibacy, is to be a witness of the divinity of Christ."
What he tries to show in "Friends of the Bridegroom," he said, is "the sacramentality of the Church as a sign of the Trinitarian communion which is participated in by the faithful and believers."
"I think you will renew the celibacy if the priest has a better sense of his own priesthood," he explained. "The foundation of this very close link between celibacy and the priesthood is the fact that the priest is in charge of an eschatological ministry, that means, of proclaiming and giving the definitive and ultimate Word of God to the world."
The cardinal said the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church "must be faithful to its own roots and its own style."
"The link between celibacy and the priesthood in the Latin Church comes from the apostles and it has been kept through the centuries despite times of decadence, of difficulties, of refusal... It's been always difficult, but it remains an extraordinary witness to the divinity of Christ and to the presence of the Risen Lord among us so that we give him an answer, because he is there, calling us to communion."
"Celibacy," he continued, "is a very living reality. And obviously we are requested to be coherent with our commitments and to be faithful to our vows. I think with prayer, with fraternity, and with a sense of the Word of God we can achieve that."
In the book, Ouellet directly addresses this month's Amazon synod and the "search of new ways in a missionary context."
"New missionary strategies are emerging that could have a long-term impact on priestly ministry, either locally or more broadly, given the globalizing influence of a borderless media culture," he writes.
"Some aspire to the rapid adoption of the pastoral solution of the viri probati-that is, married men, heads of stable families, who could be ordained priests in order to ensure the Eucharistic celebration for dispersed indigenous communities to whom the value of celibacy seems foreign."
"These prospects may be attractive to some," he adds, "and cause concern elsewhere, if one considers that elements of ideology and strategy are intertwined to achieve more ambitious and important results at the universal level."
Ouellet writes that some "liberal" or "protesting currents of thought are resurfacing to take advantage of the situation and propose reform programs that go beyond Pope Francis' intentions and orientations."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Instead, he explains, Pope Francis has put the Amazon synod under the movement of the Holy Spirit, in an atmosphere of prayer, dialogue, and openness to newness. But this requires free discussion of divergent ideas, he explains. And not only ideas opposing each other are needed, but those "opposing interests and forces hostile to the influence of the Church."
"That being said," the cardinal continues, "new paths of the future will bear evangelical fruits if they are consistent with a complete proclamation of the Gospel, sine glosa, which does not sacrifice anything of the permanent values of the Christian tradition."
He says in the book that "pastoral creativity" is needed in order to be attentive to cultural characteristics while addressing the lack of priests, "but we must first verify the quality of the witness of missionaries, who can effectively transmit the faith when it permeates their entire lives and unambiguously motivates their lifestyle and evangelizing activity."