CNA Staff, Sep 3, 2020 / 11:45 am
Pope Francis did not approve a proposal to ordain married men in the Amazon region because the idea was discussed, and even argued about, but not prayerfully discerned at a 2019 synod of bishops, according to notes from the pope included in an article published Thursday in the Catholic periodical La Civiltà Cattolica.
“There was a discussion ... a rich discussion ... a well-founded discussion, but no discernment, which is something different than just arriving at a good and justified consensus or at a relative majority,” Pope Francis said, on the issue of addressing a priest shortage in the Amazon by ordaining so-called viri probati, or older, mature and married men from local communities.
The pope clarified that synods of bishops should be opportunities for prayerful reflection, not parliamentary lobbying.
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.