Leaked Amazon synod text on priestly ordination of married men a draft

Leaked Amazon synod text on priestly ordination of married men a draft

A ceremony for the opening of the Amazon synod at St. Peter's Basilica, Oct. 7, 2019. Credit: Vatican Media.
A ceremony for the opening of the Amazon synod at St. Peter's Basilica, Oct. 7, 2019. Credit: Vatican Media.

.- A text presented Friday by Roberto de Mattei of Corrispondenza Romana as a portion of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation following the Amazon synod is a draft, and not necessarily the final version, according to a Vatican source.

“What is now circulating is one draft, which was distributed for review and comment as the final text is developed,” a source in the Dicastery for Communication told CNA Jan. 31.

The text provided by de Mattei is substantially identical to article 111 of the final document of the Amazon synod, which calls for the ordination of married men as priests.

That article of the final document proposes “that criteria and dispositions be established by the competent authority, within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community … who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, in order to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon region.”

According to de Mattei, the text he published came to him “from several bishops” who had received a portion of the forthcoming apostolic exhortation.

Earlier this month Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the relator general of the Amazon synod, sent a letter to some ordinaries indicating that the apostolic exhortation should be promulgated in January or February.

“The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated. Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February,” Cardinal Hummes, who is also president of the Pan Amazonic Church Network, wrote in a Jan. 13 letter.  

Among the works of REPAM is “protection for the 137 ‘contactless tribes’ of the Amazon and affirmation of their right to live undisturbed.”

Cardinal Hummes said in his letter that Francis is preparing the exhortation “to present the New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology as developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit” during the Amazon synod.

According to Cardinal Hummes, the exhortation “is keenly awaited and will attract great interest and many different responses.”

The cardinal added that the pope wants ordinaries to receive the text “before it is published and before the world press starts to comment on it, and join him in presenting the Exhortation and making it accessible to the faithful, to fellow believers and all people of good will, and to the media, the academic world, and others in positions of authority and influence.”

Cardinal Hummes offered “some suggestions” to bishops on how to prepare well for the exhortation's release. “The purpose is not to generate publicity or attract attention. Rather, it is quietly to support you the Ordinary, in communion with Pope Francis, as you prepare to receive the Exhortation and pass it on to the People of God in your jurisdiction.”

In addition to advocating the priestly ordination of married men, the synod's final document called for women to be considered for diaconal ordination. It presented the synod assembly’s reflections and conclusions on topics ranging from environmentalism, inculturation in the Church, and the human rights of indigenous communities in the face of economic, environmental, and cultural exploitation.

Four days before the final document was approved, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna indicated that it was to be written principally by a team chaired by Cardinal Hummes.

Tags: Amazon Synod 2019