Vatican Cardinal is Skeptical About Married Priests for Amazon

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet attends a Mass for the election of a new pope inside St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, on March 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A top Vatican cardinal has expressed skepticism about ordaining married men to address the priest shortage in the Amazon, defending the value of priestly celibacy on the eve of a big Vatican meeting where the issue is officially up for debate.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet held a rare press conference Wednesday to launch his book “Friends of the Bridegroom: For a Renewed Vision of Priestly Celibacy,” which speaks openly about the challenges facing priests today amid a decline in vocations and reputational damage from sex abuse scandals.

Ouellet, a Canadian who heads the Vatican’s bishops’ office as well as the Holy See’s commission for Latin America, acknowledged that the Amazon region was suffering from a priest shortage and that he was open to debate about how to address it during this month’s Amazon synod.

But he said he was skeptical about the proposal to ordain married men, noting that the region doesn’t even have enough catechists to teach lay people about their faith, much less train indigenous deacons or priests.

“I ask myself the question. I am skeptical. And I think I’m not the only one,” he said. “And above me there is someone who is even more skeptical who has authorized the debate, and that’s OK,” he said, in an apparent reference to Pope Francis.

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Source: Religion News Service