Brazilian Bishop Says 2/3 of Amazon Bishops Support Married Priests

Participants attend the Amazon synod, at the Vatican, on Oct. 7, 2019. Pope Francis opened the three-week meeting on preserving the rainforest and ministering to its native people as he fended off attacks from conservatives who are opposed to his ecological agenda. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

According to one Brazil bishop attending the Vatican summit on the Amazon region, a majority of Brazilian bishops are in favor of allowing the ordination of married men to the priesthood.

“Of the bishops who are in the Amazon region, I guess 2/3 are in favor of the viri probati,” said Emeritus Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, using the Catholic Church’s official term for tested married men.

Speaking to reporters after a Vatican news conference Wednesday (Oct. 9), the prelate also argued that “there are many bishops who are in favor of female deacons.”

Emeritus Bishop Erwin Kräutler
in 2009. Photo by Holger
Motzkau/Creative Commons

“For me there is no reason why women are not able to be ordained (as deacons),” Kräutler said, adding that this synod “may be a step to” but not the deciding factor on these issues.

Originally from Austria, Kräutler arrived in Brazil in 1966 and has been  ministering to the 20 or so indigenous communities living along the Xingu River since then. He is a member of the pre-synodal council and lead author of the synod’s preparatory document, the “Instrumentum Laboris.”

According to Kräutler, “there is no other option” than ordaining married men to bring the Eucharist in the Amazon region, which extends over nine countries in Latin America.

“The indigenous people don’t understand celibacy. They say that very openly and I see it,” he said at the news conference. “When I get to an indigenous village, the first thing they ask is, where is your wife?”

Drawing from a conversation he had with Pope Francis during a 2015 private audience, Kräutler said that in the Catholic faith the Eucharist is above celibacy and should therefore be guaranteed to the numerous isolated communities in the Amazon. He also spoke in favor of the female diaconate.

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Source: Religion News Service