Mexican bishop says position on married priests one of “listening” not “encouraging”

.- Bishop Felipe Arizmendi of San Cristobal de las Casas in southern Mexico has issued a clarification regarding the Holy See’s request that he implement a reform of the diocesan deaconate program.  The bishop said he does not promote the priestly ordination of married deacons but rather that he only listens to “the petitions of some of the faithful in this matter.”

In a statement released to the media, Bishop Arizmendi said, “It should be very clear: We do not encourage the hope for ‘a permanent deaconate oriented toward the married priesthood.’  We do not promote the ordination of married deacons.  We listen to the petitions of some of the faithful in this matter, but we do not encourage them to have hope.  Permanent deacons are permanent deacons, and we are not directing them towards the priesthood.”

“We thank the Holy See for its concern for our diocese and we appreciate its work to conserve orthodoxy,” the bishop said in his statement.  “We sincerely apologize for the headache we have caused.  But we have the obligation to make you aware of the concerns of our people, to dialogue and clarify that which we believe does not correspond to reality, and to propose solutions to the concrete needs of our local Churches.”

“For some time we have been reviewing some of the contents of the Diocesan Directory for the Permanent Deaconate, which was drafted by my predecessors, so that it conforms to the national and universal directories,” he added.

This week the Notimex news agency published another letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments—the third such missive in the last 14 months sent to the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas asking for the deaconate program to be corrected.

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