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The Amazon Synod

Catholic Tradition

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2johnthefireman
Oct 18, 2019, 4:19am Top

Cardinal Barreto: The Amazon synod is the child of ‘Laudato Si” (America Magazine)

“The synod is already a success by the very fact that it is happening,” the Peruvian Jesuit cardinal, Pedro Barreto Jimeno, one of the president delegates of the Synod for the Amazon, told America in this interview at the end of the first week of the synod.

As vice president and founding member of REPAM (the ecclesial network for the Amazonian region set up in 2014 to respond to the grave concerns of the pope and the church regarding the deep wounds of the region and its peoples) he worked hard together with Cardinal Claudio Hummes for the synod and is overjoyed that it is being held. He told America he felt there was “an eruption of the Holy Spirit in the synod because the indigenous peoples of Amazonia are happy to feel at home in a house that is outside their normal one, which is Amazonia. This has not happened before”...

“To enter the synod is to enter already in the Amazon River.” He likened the 18-month preparation for this assembly to the inflow of the 1,100 main tributaries into the 4,000-mile-long mighty river, and said “the Amazon is so wide that at times one cannot see the river bank from one side to the other.”

“Right now, we are in a boat in the Amazon, with a slow but good rhythm,” he said. But aware that some are quite critical of the synod, the cardinal added: “One can hear criticisms from people that are on the river bank, not in the boat, they can shout, they can insult with sophisticated microphones, but they {do not change our course}”...

3johnthefireman
Oct 19, 2019, 2:09am Top

Indigenous vow to stand with Pope Francis, with each other (Crux)

Pope Francis and members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon repeatedly vowed to support, defend and accompany the region’s indigenous people.

But a few hours after having a special meeting with the pope, three indigenous leaders encouraged others from North and South America “to walk with Pope Francis and not leave him by himself”...

4johnthefireman
Oct 20, 2019, 2:15am Top

Synod bishops to renew Vatican II’s “Pact of the Catacombs” for the poor (Crux)

Some 54 years ago, 42 bishops participating in the Second Vatican Council signed what’s known as the “Pact of the Catacombs,” committing to living simply like the poorest of their parishioners.

Early Sunday morning in Rome, some of the 180 bishops participating in the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon will make a pilgrimage to the Catacombs of Domitilla on the outskirts of Rome to renew that promise...

5johnthefireman
Oct 27, 2019, 9:38am Top

Amazon bishops call on pope for ordination of married men as priests (Guardian)

Catholic bishops from across the Amazon have called for the ordination of married men as priests to address a scarcity of clergy in the region, a challenge to the centuries-old tradition in the church.

The majority of the 180 bishops from nine South American countries in the Amazon basin region on Saturday also called for the Vatican to re­open a debate on ordaining women as deacons, saying “it is urgent for the church in the Amazon to promote and confer ministries for men and women in an equitable manner”...

6johnthefireman
Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 2:47am Top

Four articles which came to me via ACI Africa. I suspect Africans are watching the Amazon Synod with great interest, as they share many of the same issues.

Pope Francis decries ‘predatory models of development’ in Amazon synod closing Mass

Church must convert from cultural, ecological sins, Amazon synod concludes

"inculturation is the incarnation of the Gospel in indigenous cultures... and at the same time the introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church"...

Amazon synod document calls for married priests and increased role for women

The meeting for the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region has approved a final document which calls for the ordination of married men as priests and for women to be considered for diaconal ordination...

Pope asks for focus on 'diagnosis' of Amazon synod report; warns against ‘elite Christians’ focusing on the ‘little things’

Pope Francis urged the media not to give undue attention to aspects of the assembly's final report addressing Church discipline while ignoring the assembly’s “diagnoses” of cultural, social, pastoral and ecological issues in the Pan-Amazonian region...

"There is always a group of elite Christians who like to take up this kind of diagnosis as if they were universal," he continued, "however small, or in this kind of more inter-ecclesiastical disciplinary resolutions"...


From National Catholic Reporter: Amazon synod calls for married priests, pope to reopen women deacons commission

I haven't yet found the full document online, but:

Three Key Paragraphs of Amazon Synod’s Final Document (National Catholic Register - it's a bit confusing that there are two Catholic media both with the initials NCR!)

the texts of the three most controversial and discussed matters of the synod ...

Female Diaconate

103. In the many consultations carried out in the Amazon, the fundamental role of religious and lay women in the Church of the Amazon and its communities was recognized and emphasized, given the multiple services they provide. In a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested. For this reason the theme was important during the Synod. Already in 2016, Pope Francis had created a “Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women” which, as a Commission, arrived at a partial result based on what the reality of the diaconate of women was like in the early centuries of the Church and its implications for today. We would therefore like to share our experiences and reflections with the Commission and await its results.

Passed by 137 (non placet: 30)

Ordination of Married Men in the Amazon

111. Many of the ecclesial communities of the Amazonian territory have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist. Sometimes it takes not just months but even several years before a priest can return to a community to celebrate the Eucharist, offer the sacrament of reconciliation or anoint the sick in the community. We appreciate celibacy as a gift of God (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 1), to the extent that this gift enables the missionary disciple, ordained to the priesthood, to dedicate himself fully to the service of the Holy People of God. It stimulates pastoral charity and we pray that there will be many vocations living the celibate priesthood. We know that this discipline “is not required by the very nature of the priesthood… although it has many reasons of convenience with it” (PO 16). In his encyclical on priestly celibacy, St. Paul VI maintained this law and set out theological, spiritual, and pastoral motivations that sustain it. In 1992, the post-synodal exhortation of John Paul II on priestly formation confirmed this tradition in the Latin Church (PDV 29). Considering that legitimate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but expresses and serves it (LG 13; SO 6) which testifies to the plurality of existing rites and disciplines, we proposed to establish criteria and dispositions on the part of the competent authority, within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, to ordain priests suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive and adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family 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. In this regard, some were in favor of a more universal approach to the subject.

Passed by 128 (non placet: 41)

Amazonian Rite

119. The new organism of the Church in the Amazon must constitute a competent commission to study and dialogue, according to the customs and customs of the ancestral peoples, the elaboration of an Amazonian rite that expresses the liturgical, theological, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Amazon, with special reference to what Lumen Gentium affirms for the Oriental Churches (cf. LG 23). This would add to the rites already present in the Church, enriching the work of evangelization, the capacity to express the faith in a proper culture, and the sense of decentralization and collegiality that the catholicity of the Church can express. It could also study and propose how to enrich ecclesial rites with the way in which these peoples care for their territory and relate to its waters.

Passed by 140 (non placet: 19)...


While The Tablet gives a more comprehensive selection:



The state of the Amazon

“The Amazon today is a wounded and deformed beauty, a place of suffering and violence. Attacks on nature have consequences for the lives of peoples…These are real threats with serious social consequences: environmental disease, drug trafficking and smuggling, organ traffic, sex tourism, the loss of original culture and identify (language, spiritual practices and customs)…The scientific community, for its part, wants the rusks of deforestation, which to date is close to almost 17% of the whole Amazon forest, and threatens the survival of the entire ecosystem…


“Listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and of the peoples of the Amazon with whom we walk, calls us to a true and integral conversion, to a simple and most style of life, all nourished by a mystical spirituality in the style of St. Francis of Assisi."

The Church in the region

“One of the most glorious pages of the Amazon has been written by the martyrs. The participation of the followers of Jesus in his passion, death and glorious resurrection has accompanied the life of the Church to this day, especially in the moments and places in which, for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus, Christians live in the midst of acute contradictions.

“We want to be a Church in the Amazon which is Samaritan, incarnated in the way in which the Son of God became incarnate…The multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious reality of the Amazon demands an open attitude of dialogue, also recognising the multiplicity of interlocutors: the indigenous peoples, the river dwellers, peasants and afro-descendants, the other Christian Churches and religious dominations.

“Colonialism is the imposition of some people’s ways of life on others, whether economically, culturally or religiously. We reject a colonial style of evangelisation. Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus implies recognising the seeds of the Word already present in cultures….In the evangelising task of the Church, which should not be confused with proselytism, we must include clear processes of inculturation of our missionary methods and plans."

The ecological stance

“It is urgent to face the unlimited exploitation of our 'common home' and its inhabitants…For Christians, the interest and concern for the promotion and respect of human rights, both individual and collective, is not optional. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God the Creator and their dignity is invaluable…It is then a question of discussing the real value that any economic or extractive activity offers…Together with the Amazon’s peoples and their horizon of ‘good living’, we are called to an individual and communal ecological conversion that safeguards en integral ecology and a model of development in which commercial criteria are not above environmental and human rights criteria."

“The Church recognises the wisdom of the Amazon peoples about biodiversity, a traditional wisdom that is a living process always underway. The theft of this knowledge is biopiracy, a form of violence against these populations. The Church must help them to preserve and maintain this knowledge and the innovations and practices of the social populations, respecting the sovereignty of counties and their laws regulating access to genetic resources and assisted traditional knowledge.”

“As a way of repaying the ecological debt that countries have with the Amazon, we propose the creation of a world fund to cover the budgets of the communities present in the Amazon which promote their integral and self-sustaining development and to also protect them from the predatory compulsion to extract their natural resources by national and multinational companies.”

“To create a pastoral socio-environmental and pastoral office to support the struggle in the defence of life. To carry to a diagnosis of the territory and its socio-environmental conflicts in each local and regional Church…”


Pastoral presence and local rite

“It is urgent for the Church to reach out pastorally, to the indigenous people in a specific way. We start from plural realities and diverse cultures to define, elaborate and adopt pastoral actions that allows us to develop a proposal of evangelisation among the indigenous communities, placing ourselves within a pastoral framework for indigenous people and their territory. The pastoral care of indigenous peoples has its own specificity.

“A Church with an Amazonian face needs its communities to be infused with a synodal spirit…As an expression of the co-responsibility of all the baptised in the Church and of the exercise of the sensus fidei of all the People of God, the assemblies and pastoral councils in all ecclesial spheres, as well as the coordination teams of the different pastoral services and the ministries entrusted to the laity came into being.

“We must give an authentically Catholic response to the request of the Amazonian communities to adapt the liturgy by valuing its worldview, traditions, symbols and original rites that include transcendent, community and ecological dimensions.

“In the Catholic Church there are 23 Rites, a clear sign of a tradition that forms the first centuries has tried to inculturate the contents of the faith and its celebration through a language as coherent as possible with the mystery that is to be expressed.

“It is necessary that the Church, in her tireless evangelising work, work so that the process of inculturation of the faith may be expressed in the most coherent forms…preserving the material of the sacraments and adapting them to the form, without losing sight of what is essential.

“The new organism of the Church in the Amazon must constitute a competent commission to study and dialogue, according to the customs of the ancestral peoples, the elaboration of an Amazonian rite that expresses the liturgical, theological, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Amazon…This would add to the rites already present in the Church, enriching the work of evangelisation, the capacity to express the faith in a proper culture, and the sense of decentralisation and collegiality that the catholicity of the Church can express…


Viri probati and vocation in the Amazonian Church

“For the Amazon Church, the promotion, formation and support of permanent deacons is urgent because of the importance of this ministry for the community. This is so in a particular way because of the needs of ecclesial service by many communities, especially indigenous peoples. The specific pastoral needs of the Amazonian Christian communities lead us to a broader understanding of the diaconate, a service that has existed since the beginning of the Church, and restored as an autonomous and permanent grade by the Second Vatican Council.

“Considering that legitimate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but expresses and serves it…we propose to establish criteria and dispositions on the part of the competent authority…to ordain priests suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family, 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.


Recognition of women and their roles

“The ancestral wisdom of the peoples affirms that mother earth has a female face. In the indigenous and western world, women are those who work in multiple facets, in the instruction of children, in the transmission of faith and the Gospel, they are a witness and responsible commitment in human promotion, so that the voice of women can be heard, they are consulted and participate in decision-making and, in this way, can contribute with their sensitivity to ecclesial synodality.

“We secure {women’s} role in leadership and formation. In the new context of evangelisation and pastoral ministry in the Amazon, where the majority of Catholic communities are led by women, we ask for the institution of ministry for 'women leadership of the community' be created and recognised within the service of the changing demands fo evangelisation and community care.

“In the many consultations carried out in the Amazon, the fundamental role of religious and lay women in the Church of the Amazon and its communities was recognised and emphasised, given the multiple services they provide. In a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested…We would therefore like to share our experiences and reflections with the {Commission on the Diaconate of Women set up in 2016} and await its results.”

7margd
Oct 28, 2019, 6:36am Top

In case I'm not the only one who wondered what "synodality" implies:

Question: What does "synodality" mean?

Answer:
Synodality is related to collegiality. Collegiality refers to the individual authority of each bishop as a successor of the apostles. Each bishop is essentially autonomous and equal (with the exception of the Bishop of Rome). On matters of local governance, one bishop cannot tell another bishop how to run his diocese.

Synodality refers to groupings of bishops. An example would be the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to canon law, national episcopal conferences can set certain laws and practices for their regions above and beyond what an individual bishop can do. However, because these groupings of bishops have no authority outside of each individual bishop’s authority, the group needs to have its authority specifically declared by Church law. Otherwise it carries no weight other than encouragement.

Both methods of Church governance have practical pros and cons.

https://www.catholic.com/qa/what-is-synodality

8johnthefireman
Oct 28, 2019, 7:59am Top

The document in Spanish (?) is here

SinodoAmazonico – Documento finale del Sinodo dei Vescovi al Santo Padre Francesco (26 ottobre 2019), 26.10.2019

I haven't found an English text yet.

9johnthefireman
Oct 28, 2019, 9:39am Top

Closing synod, Francis warns against righteous who leave God 'out in the cold' (NCR)

Concluding a monthlong gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that drew an unprecedented level of criticism from conservative quarters in the church, Pope Francis warned Oct. 27 against Christians who think they are so righteous they wind up worshipping themselves.

In a homily during a Mass closing the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops for the nine-nation Amazon region, the pontiff said "the root of every spiritual error … is believing ourselves to be righteous."

"We, all of us, are in need of salvation," said Francis. "To consider ourselves righteous is to leave God, the only righteous one, out in the cold."

Some prominent conservative Catholics had become increasing vocal in criticism of the Amazon synod during the three weeks of the gathering, expressing concern about both its consideration of ways the church might better minister in the region and its inclusion of indigenous symbols in worship.

Two conservative activists even filmed themselves stealing indigenous statues from a church near the Vatican and tossing them into Rome's Tiber River. Francis later apologized for the act of vandalism, telling the synod prelates that as the bishop of Rome he wished to ask forgiveness.

The pope reflected in his Oct. 27 homily on a passage from Luke's Gospel, where Jesus offers a parable comparing the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader, thanks God that he is "not like the rest of humanity." The tax collector, a wealthy man, asks God to be merciful "to me, a sinner."

The Pharisee, the pontiff said, "is focused only on himself."

"He ends up praising himself instead of praying," said the pope. "He stands in the temple of God, but the one he worships is himself."

"Worship of self carries on hypocritically with its rites and 'prayers,' forgetting the true worship of God which is always expressed in love of one's neighbor," said Francis. "Even Christians who pray and go to Mass on Sunday are subject to this religion of the self"...

10johnthefireman
Oct 29, 2019, 12:32am Top

Amazon Synod: Summary of final document (Independent Catholic News)

Five chapters, plus an introduction and a brief conclusion: the Final Document of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region was released on the evening of 26 October, by the express will of the Pope. The document deals with a wide variety of topics, including mission, inculturation, integral ecology, defence of the indigenous peoples, an Amazonian rite, the role of women, and new ministries, especially in areas where access to the Eucharist is lacking.

Conversion: this is the common thread running through the final document of the Pan-Amazon Synod. Conversion is expressed with different accents: integral, pastoral, cultural, ecological, and synodal...

11johnthefireman
Oct 29, 2019, 2:25am Top

Today I was reading this wonderful reflection from Choan-Seng Song, Jesus, the Crucified People (Fortress Press: 1996), ix, x, and it just struck me as being relevant to the focus on inculturation and incarnation which has emerged during the Amazon Synod.

{Jesus} burnt himself out totally, like a candle, to give light to the people living under the power of darkness. He lived, toiled, and died solely for that purpose. But unlike a candle he did not just melt away, leaving no trace. . . And though a candle is unable to prevent the return of darkness as soon as it is extinguished, Jesus’ light has burned on and has ignited countless new lights in the world. . . .

Perhaps Jesus waited, for these past two thousand years, to hear something different about him from the parts of the world now called Third World. Who could blame Jesus if he has grown a little tired of hearing over and over essentially the same thing about him said, taught, proclaimed, and preached . . . for so many centuries with only slight variations . . . ? He himself strove to bring fresh air into the traditions of his own religion. He must have been unable to suppress a sense of irony to know that the churches established in his name have come to revere him as a tradition that allows little fresh air to enter. Now that new voices are being enunciated about him by those . . . outside the traditional framework of Christianity, he must be experiencing an emancipation from the confinement of orthodoxy that has immobilized him. . . .

Jesus as a historical person can be identified within a particular cross-section of space-time. . . . That particular cross-section of space-time proves, from the Christian standpoint, to be an extraordinary segment in human history. {It} was not a mere thirty years limited to the small confines of the land in which he was born. His time seems to stretch to eternity and his space extends to all the universe. In the words of the Letter to the Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever” (13:8). John . . . in a flash of penetrating theological hindsight grasped the meaning of Jesus in relation to the world when he said: “The Word became flesh” (1:14). What a mystery is packed into this brief statement! The Word that was in the beginning of time now comes into the thick of our time. The God who filled the space of chaos with creation now fills our space of suffering, strife, and death with the Word-become-flesh.

12DeVilbiss
Oct 29, 2019, 8:06am Top

Hello,

Can anyone tell me why Pope Francis and the amazon synod continue to directly contradict Holy Scripture. I'm thinking of how idols were brought into a Catholic church and the changing directions of women role's in church.

Let me be clear that I'm not as yet a Catholic, and I hope to enter into the church before long. This new synod is really making me question my decision. Would Pope Francis really expect me to worship in a church with idols in it? How would I reconcile that to my children who know what their Bibles clearly state about idols? Think of all the martyrs that have come before who were tortured and killed because they refused to acknowledge the pagan idols. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that this attitude can just be changed SNAP just like that! To the brave souls who threw the idols into the Tiber river I say "May God bless them and protect them."

What are the mental gymnastics that I need perform in order to remedy these scriptural contradictions?

13johnthefireman
Edited: Oct 29, 2019, 8:29am Top

>12 DeVilbiss:

I wonder how you define an idol? Acts of the Apostles 17:22-28 is a good lesson. But if you are entering the Catholic Church (welcome, by the way!), be aware that inculturation and incarnation are part of the missionary tradition of the Church. We do not come to implant a western model of Christianity but to allow Christianity to become incarnated in the existing cultures. I think the Amazon Synod makes this point clearly, in continuity with the Tradition, just as Jesus did not come to wipe away the Jewish religion which he was born into but to "complete" it.

Where are the scriptural contradictions in "the changing directions of women's role in the Church"? A Church Commission is examining the evidence for an ordained women's diaconate in the early Church and has not yet reached a conclusion, but clearly women played great leadership roles in the Church in the past, as witnessed by many of the women saints. I'm from UK so I'm very aware of the major ecclesiastical role played by St Hild of Whitby, for example, as well as the great contemplative example of Julian of Norwich.

Be aware that the Catholic Church is not a bible literalist Church, a sport favoured by US evangelical protestants. As early as the fourth century CE St Augustine argued against a literal reading, and in modern times Vatican II's Dei verbum also speaks of the interpretation of scripture (eg #12) as well as affirming that Catholics find revelation in both scripture and Tradition (unlike many protestants, who rely solely on scripture). Scripture must be interpreted exegetically, not literally.

Hope that helps.

14DeVilbiss
Oct 29, 2019, 12:04pm Top

Thank you John for entering into dialogue with me and giving me something to think about.

Rereading my comment I found myself come off as unnecessarily bitter. Let me be clear: I'm not a happy camper, and that won't do anyone any good. Taking this into consideration I've decided that the internet is not a good place to discuss my concerns; God forbid I start a flame war!. (Has the internet ever yielded anything of value when it comes to discussions? Let's see . . . Nope)

Goodbye, and God bless!

15johnthefireman
Oct 29, 2019, 1:05pm Top

>14 DeVilbiss:

You're right that the internet isn't a good place for constructive conversations, although I hope you didn't perceive my response as the start of a flame war. You raised sincere questions and I tried to answer them from my own experience of being a Catholic missionary for the best part of forty years, in Africa rather than the Amazon, but with some similar issues. God bless you on your journey.

16johnthefireman
Oct 30, 2019, 2:26am Top

The Church came into existence as a community that preserved the dangerous memory of Jesus—the memory of his public crucifixion and his subsequent return among his frightened followers in a way that was totally without reproach but was rather utterly new and beyond anything that could have been previously imagined. This new radical community has held together over two thousand years, as a community based, at bottom, on mutual love and not, as with other human institutions on fear.

The Church’s contemplation of this dangerous memory is what we call ‘theology’, which is actually founded on the marriage of sacred Scripture with philosophy—particularly classical Greek philosophy. This is important. A religion . . . that is without theology quickly becomes fundamentalist as it begins to interpret Scripture in a literal way, full of cultural bias and with little rational underpinning.

Fundamentalism is always culture-bound, whereas, although the story of Jesus is historical, set in a particular time, place and culture, his teaching is essentially transcultural. So, too, should be the teaching of his Church. . . .

The Church should not minimise the radically different nature of its revelation. Christian revelation is founded in the person of Jesus who invites us into the freedom of God’s love . . . nevertheless, for too much of its history, indeed since the time of Constantine, the Catholic Church has not in practice demonstrated this God-offered freedom but has rather been associated with worldly power . . . {and} it is important to acknowledge this historical failing of the Christian Church.


Sebastian Moore, The Contagion of Jesus: Doing Theology as If It Mattered (Orbis Books: 2008), 59-60.

I suspect Moore would have approved of the Amazon Synod! Another of his books which I have always liked is The Crucified Jesus Is No Stranger.

17johnthefireman
Oct 31, 2019, 2:12am Top

Did Pan-Amazonian Synod Opportunities Evade First Missionaries in Africa? (ACI Africa)

Days after the three-week Pan-Amazonian Synod concluded at the Vatican, an Ivorian religious missionary priest is of the opinion that the kind of opportunities utilized by the fathers of the recently concluded Synod were missed out by the Church in Africa, particularly at the time of implanting the Catholic faith gospel on the African continent.

“When we read the final message about the synod of the Amazonia, we say that if such a missionary vision had been favored for Africa, if the prophetic voice of many of our theologians had been heard, we would have today a more authentic African Christianity and our people would not find themselves living their faith in a constantly syncretic dynamic”...

18johnthefireman
Nov 1, 2019, 8:45am Top

The Guardian view on ‘pagan idols’ in the Vatican: church culture wars should concern us all (Guardian)

The roots of the word “catholic” go back to the Greek adjective καθολικός, which roughly translates as “universal”. When we are told a person has catholic tastes, we understand them to have broad interests which are not ringfenced by prejudices or secular dogmas... The Catholic church has a long tradition of incorporating and adapting different forms of belief and practice from around the world. Often described as “inculturation”, at its worst this approach can become a form of religious imperialism. At its best, it means a faithfulness to the church’s core belief that God is present in all human cultures; a belief that the ultimate vocation of humanity “is one”, however diverse its myriad cultures...

The Amazon Synod: Francis' efforts to revitalise the Church's mission may be gaining momentum (The Tablet)

Francis is stepping up his attempt to revitalise the Church’s mission, and to turn it outwards to the world – and especially to the poor. Our Rome correspondent wonders if the anger and fear felt by those resisting such change may be a sign that the momentum is with the Pope...

19johnthefireman
Nov 1, 2019, 8:56am Top

And not only in the Amazon:

Ireland facing potential shortage of Catholic priests within the next 10 years (Irish Times)

according to Association of Catholic Priest, which is predicting an end to basic sacraments like marriages and baptisms in some smaller parishes as a result...

The ACP is calling for a relaxation of celibacy rules that would see married men ordained and a return for any clerics who previously left the church to wed.

They are also calling for women to be ordained to the diaconate...

20johnthefireman
Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 3:10pm Top

Zenit is publishing an English translation of the final Amazon Synod document in instalments.

https://zenit.org/articles/amazon-synod-zenit-translation-of-final-document-intr...

https://zenit.org/articles/amazon-synod-zenit-translation-of-final-document-chap...

https://zenit.org/articles/amazon-synod-zenit-translation-of-final-document-chap...

Presumably there'll be two more instalments?

National Catholic Register has an unofficial translation of the whole document, but it's a rather poor quality scan:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-english-text-of-amazon-synods-...

21johnthefireman
Nov 4, 2019, 12:15pm Top

A contextual view of the tensions arising from the Amazon Synod and its Working Document: Discernment from the Spirit of God in the key aspects of unity, charity, and peace (ecojesuit)

“And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains, if I am without love, I am nothing…For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly. But once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with.” (1 Corinthians 13: 2, 9-10)

22johnthefireman
Nov 4, 2019, 1:01pm Top

I have set before you life and death . . . therefore choose life. —Deuteronomy 30:19

23johnthefireman
Nov 5, 2019, 1:34pm Top

Not directly connected to the Amazon Synod, but another interesting even shedding light where there was opaqueness, with people not afraid to speak the truth as they see it. The 'Women the Vatican Couldn’t Silence' conference saw a number of theologians and religious figures attend, including Sr Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun and American theologian.

Former Irish President Mary McAleese says Catholic priesthood is based around 'a fundamental lie' (Irish Post)

"I became very much aware of the dysfunction at the heart of seminary life and the dysfunction at the heart of much of the priesthood," said McAleese.

"The number of fake-hetero misogynistic homophobic gays I met frightened me. The homophobia of people who are gay is a lie - it is a vicious lie. But they live it and in living it, apart from making themselves miserable, they also make a lot of other people miserable."

She added that as pastors, "their capacity for dispersing misery is really immense. That worries me greatly."

McAleese also said that the practice of excluding women from priesthood was a harmful "invention" of the Church and would soon be eradicated...

24johnthefireman
Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 1:28am Top

The question behind the synod: How can and should change happen in the church? (NCR)

the Second Vatican Council discussed collegiality not synodality. Francis is trying to employ synodality as a means of expressing collegiality"...

I sincerely hope the naysayers on both the left and the right will observe what this pope is doing and have confidence that the Spirit is at work in our church. I hope that people who think change is impossible will study some church history. And I hope, too, that those who think ecclesial change is as easy as pie will remember that some of us are not bakers and a pie can be difficult.

Here is a good rule of thumb I use: If you envision Christ in such a way that he always confirms your beliefs and never makes you squirm, you are on the wrong track and you need some spiritual guidance. That works on the personal level. On the ecclesial level, synodality may help keep the church on the right track, whatever that track is and wherever it leads.


A balanced and well-argued piece.

25johnthefireman
Nov 7, 2019, 2:17am Top

>14 DeVilbiss:

If you're still following this thread at all, have a look at post 68 in the thread entitled Francis, part 10 (2019), which references a recent teaching by Pope Francis headed "St. Paul Announced Christ to 'idol worshippers' Without Attacking Them".

26johnthefireman
Nov 11, 2019, 1:13pm Top

Encountering the Spirit in the symbols of the ancestors (NCR)

The past few weeks have cemented for me the sad reality that for too many within U.S. Catholicism there is only one way to be church. Commentaries and actions surrounding the Amazon synod suggest that the only and preferred model is Eurocentric...

27johnthefireman
Nov 12, 2019, 12:06am Top

Top 5 takeaways from the Amazon synod (America Magazine)

1. The synod was prophetic in placing Amazonian and indigenous communities at the center of the synod process and for making a clear option for these communities over foreign economic interests...

2. At the heart of the synod process and the final document is conversion at the pastoral, cultural, ecological and synodal levels...

3. This special synod—the first Synod of Bishops to be organized around a distinct ecological territory—sought to practice what it preached regarding “integral ecology” and care for our common home...

4. All 120 paragraphs of the synod’sfinal document (currently available in Spanish only) were approved with the necessary two-thirds majority vote, including proposals related to married priests and women deacons...

5. Since his election as pope in March 2013, Pope Francis has transformed the Synod of Bishops into a privileged place of discernment and conversion...

28johnthefireman
Nov 24, 2019, 12:56am Top

The Amazon synod shows the way forward for the US church (NCR)

McElroy said he was asked to address "how the church in the United States might move forward from this most painful moment in its history. My suggestion would be to embrace the type of synodal pathway that the church in the Amazon has been undergoing." McElroy was chosen by Pope Francis to attend the Amazon synod, a gathering that the U.S. bishop found marked by "deep and broad consultation, the willingness to accept arduous choices, the search for renewal and reform at every level, and unswerving faith in the constancy of God's presence in the community"...

29johnthefireman
Dec 2, 2019, 3:59am Top

Central American bishops defend Francis over Amazon synod, “Pachamama” (Crux)

At the close of their annual general assembly, the Central American bishops rose to Pope Francis’s defense amid what they said have been false and hostile attacks following the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon in October...

In their statement, signed Nov. 28, the bishops thanked Francis for the Amazon synod, calling it “an ecclesial event that has placed the world’s eyes on this vast area, which needs a massive evangelistic effort and colossal strength to be able to implement the many needs of an integral ecology.”

Pointing to numerous indigenous communities that live in the Amazon, the bishops insisted that they “have the right to receive the announcement of Jesus Christ and his kingdom by taking new paths.”

Because of the attention dedicated to these communities and the “new paths” for their evangelization, “it is not surprising that the Holy Father has been an object of virulent and insulting attacks, plagued by lies and calumny,” the bishops said...

30LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 1:24am Top

A pagan freak show. Gnostic pantheistic idolatry.

31johnthefireman
Dec 8, 2019, 1:27am Top

>30 LesMiserables:

Good grief. Are you serious?

32LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 1:29am Top

Yes.

33johnthefireman
Dec 8, 2019, 1:32am Top

Incidentally, welcome back. I haven't seen you posting for a long time.

34LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 1:35am Top

Thanks John.

35johnthefireman
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 3:09am Top

I think Catholics in the developed countries of the Global North often have difficulty comprehending the problems faced by people in places which were traditionally thought of as "missionary" territories, places where the Church was implanted many centuries after it had become established in Europe. Catholics in Europe and north American complain because two or three parishes have to share a priest, whereas in developing countries often a single priest may have to cover huge areas which are pretty inaccessible. Catholics are lucky if they see a priest once a year, and it is indeed inspiring to witness how strong is their faith in the face of hardships which would floor many Catholics in the Global North.

I've never been to South America, but as a missionary in Africa I can identify with some of their issues. I once worked in a parish which was the size of Belgium, was basically a swamp with not a single road, and there was a war going on. We had outstations (chapels) up to a hundred km away which could only be reached during a very short window each year when the rains stopped, the swamp receded a bit, and depending on the level of insecurity. Getting to the chapels was a long and arduous journey taking many days on foot and by canoe, often wading chest deep through the crocodile and bilharzia infested swamp, and often contracting malaria and other diseases en route (indeed on my most recent visit to South Sudan's relatively-developed capital city last month I contracted malaria and typhoid). In each outstation there was usually a local catechist who led the community in prayers every Sunday, and who was often authorised to do baptisms, weddings and funerals. I can fully understand why the people of the Amazon are calling for viri probati to be ordained priests, as married men indeed were in the early centuries of the Church and still are in the Eastern Catholic Church, and in the western Church drawn from married former Anglican priests.

As a missionary I also understand that bringing Christianity in a way that tramples on the people's own attempts to discover the one true God is neither right nor productive. Acts of the Apostles 17:22-28 is a good lesson, and Pope Francis has preached on the topic*. But inculturation and incarnation are part of the missionary tradition of the Church. We do not come to implant a western model of Christianity but to allow Christianity to become incarnated in the existing cultures as it did in Europe many centuries ago. I think the Amazon Synod makes this point clearly, in continuity with the Tradition, just as Jesus did not come to wipe away the Jewish religion which he was born into but to "complete" it.

So dismissing the efforts of the Church to grapple with these very real issues as a "freak show" is not very helpful. Millions of your fellow Catholics live in circumstances which to you might seem to be a freak show.

* Pope Francis: St. Paul Announced Christ to 'idol worshippers' Without Attacking Them (ACI Africa)

36LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 2:37am Top

Paganism and animism is abhorrent to God.

37LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 2:39am Top

The endless synods and meetings costs millions upon millions and either mean nothing or corrupt the Church.
Let's do away with them and give the money instead to the poor.

38johnthefireman
Dec 8, 2019, 2:41am Top

>36 LesMiserables:

You're not listening to me, the pope , St Paul or the author of Acts of the Apostles. What have paganism and animism to do with what I have just written?

39johnthefireman
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 3:01am Top

>37 LesMiserables:

Let us indeed give to the poor. But let us also recognise why the poor are poor, and let us put in place the necessary mechanisms to address the root causes of poverty, which usually requires investigation, analysis, discussions, meetings and strategies. Was it Dom Helder Camara who said something like, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist"?

One example is the climate crisis which is causing more and more poverty in developing countries. We can indeed give food and money to those who are starving because of the climate crisis, but we must also address the root causes. The Church is playing its role in this, in both the Amazon Synod and the earlier Laudato si'.

40LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 3:48am Top

39.

The Church is being corrupted by synodality. Tell the poor that they cannot eat because some bureaucratic bishop, who loves his chair rather than his apostolic mission, needs to talk about it first.

41johnthefireman
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 7:16am Top

>40 LesMiserables:

No, tell the poor the truth (which actually they know already), that they cannot eat because of the climate crisis brought about largely by the rich.

42johnthefireman
Dec 8, 2019, 7:38am Top

>36 LesMiserables: Paganism and animism is abhorrent to God.

That is not actually the teaching of the Church.

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all {people}.


Nostra aetate, 2

43LesMiserables
Dec 8, 2019, 2:06pm Top

41. Speechless.
42. Dumbfounded.

44margd
Dec 13, 2019, 8:19am Top

‘Soldiers of Jesus’: Armed neo-Pentecostals torment Brazil’s religious minorities
Terrence McCoy | Dec. 8, 2019

...an impossible choice: his faith — or his life. It’s a decision more Brazilians are being forced to make. As evangelicalism reconfigures the spiritual map in Latin America’s largest country, attracting tens of millions of adherents, winning political power and threatening Catholicism’s long-held dominance, its most extreme adherents — often affiliated with gangs — are increasingly targeting Brazil’s non-Christian religious minorities.

Priests have been killed. Children have been stoned. An elderly woman was seriously injured. Death threats and taunts are common. Gangs are unfurling the flag of Israel, a nation seen by some evangelicals as necessary to bringing about the return of Christ.

...“When I see these (temples), I pray against it because there’s a demonic influence there,” said David Bledsoe, an American missionary (mainstream evangelicals.) who has spent two decades here. “But I would condemn such actions.” (the violence)

...(However) “Some pastors and denominations strategically bet on converting traffickers in privileged places in the hierarchy of crime” (Christina Vital da Cunha, an associate professor of sociology at Federal Fluminense University, who has spent decades studying evangelicalism in Rio’s favelas.)

...The global ascent of evangelicalism and particularly Pentecostalism, its fastest-growing movement, has led to violence against indigenous and African religions from countries such as Haiti, Nigeria and Australia. But analysts say the forces fueling the prejudice here (Brazil) — the historic presence of religious minorities, newly emboldened evangelicalism and lax state oversight — are particularly acute...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/soldiers-of-jesus-armed-neo-pe...

46johnthefireman
Dec 25, 2019, 1:48am Top

Latin American bishops call for justice during Christmas season (Crux)

Argentina - Christmas is a season of celebration. Yet in Latin America, many Christmas messages from the bishops have turned into a cry for freedom and political stability, and a call to help the poor...

48johnthefireman
Feb 12, 9:07am Top

Pope ducks debates over married priests, women deacons in Amazon doc (Crux)

Pope Francis’s highly anticipated document on the Amazon bypasses two hot-button issues looming over its publication - the possibility of married priests and women deacons - while calling for “outrage” over the treatment of the region’s land and its peoples...

The 32-page document, the shortest exhortation Francis has penned in his seven-year papacy, he says is meant to serve as a response to the synod’s final document, “The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for Integral Ecology,” noting that he does not “claim to replace that text or to duplicate it.”

Instead, the pope encourages the final document to be read in full, as he says it is the fruit of those who live in the region and “experience its suffering” and “love it passionately.”

Francis’s open-ended language seems to leave open the possibility that in the future married men who have had a “fruitful permanent diaconate” could be ordained as priests in the region, as outlined in the final Synod document - although he does not address the issue directly, only lamenting that “every effort should be made” to ensure people in the region, some of whom only see a priest once or twice a year, have regular access to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and confession.

During a February 10 conversation with bishops from the United States who were in Rome, Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City said Francis told the bishops that he “didn’t actually believe in the ordination of married men, but what are you going to do with all those people who are deprived of the Eucharist?”...


Francis declines to answer Amazon synod's requests for married priests, women ministers (NCR)

Pope Francis has not granted a request from the Catholic bishops of the Amazon to allow for the priestly ordination of married men in their territories in order to address a severe lack of ministers across the nine-nation region.

In a hotly anticipated document responding to last October's Synod of Bishops, released Feb. 12, the pontiff acknowledges the difficulty some Catholics in the region face in accessing the Eucharist. But the pope does not specifically respond to the request, made by more than two-thirds of the synod's 185 voting members...

49johnthefireman
Feb 14, 9:06am Top

Disappointment, outrage over papal document on the Amazon (NCR)

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the Amazon disappointed those hoping for an opening of clerical roles to married men and women, with many noting that the pope failed to extend his prophetic voice about environmental injustice to injustices in his own house, the church. Many women were especially outraged over the document's language of complementarity...

Pope shares with U.S. bishops his frustration with reaction to Amazon text (NCR)

Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops that, like them, he is accused of not being courageous or not listening to the Holy Spirit when he says or does something someone disagrees with — like not mentioning married priests in his document on the Amazon.

"You could see his consternation when he said that for some people it was all about celibacy and not about the Amazon," said Bishop William A. Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

"He said some people say he is not courageous because he didn't listen to the Spirit," the bishop told Catholic News Service Feb. 13. "He said, 'So they're not mad at the Spirit. They're mad at me down here,'" as if they assume the Holy Spirit agreed with them...

the pope told them the synod met "'to talk about the issues of the church in the Amazon. Other people wanted me to talk about celibacy. They made that the issue. But that wasn't the issue of this synod'"...

50johnthefireman
Feb 15, 6:14am Top

Amazon’s Catholics mull Church future after pope’s letter (Crux)

Catholic priests, deacons and bishops across the Amazon voiced surprise, resignation and reluctant acceptance of Pope Francis’s refusal to allow married men to be ordained priests, lamenting that their faithful will continue to be deprived of Mass and subject to competing evangelical churches that have made impressive inroads in the region.

Francis sidestepped the issue in his big document on the Amazon released Wednesday. While he officially presented recommendations by the Amazon’s church hierarchy to consider ordaining married permanent deacons, he refused to endorse the idea as a way to address an acute priest shortage in the region, where the faithful can go months or years without a Mass.

That didn’t rule out the proposal entirely, but it certainly didn’t embrace it, as many had hoped Francis would after a three-week synod last October at the Vatican devoted to the plight of the world’s largest rain forest and its indigenous peoples...

51hf22
Feb 15, 11:46pm Top

>50 johnthefireman:

While he officially presented recommendations by the Amazon’s church hierarchy to consider ordaining married permanent deacons, he refused to endorse the idea as a way to address an acute priest shortage in the region

As Andrea Tornielli has noted a number of times, the fact that there are effectively *no* married deacons in the Amazon at the moment, was one of the reasons the Pope rejected married priests as a solution (and as someone who is very close to the Pope, I think he is speaking with direct knowledge here).

I think to the Pope the fact that this currently existing option isn't being used, shows married priests was an ideological proposal, not a pastoral or practical one. And this is why the Pope has said there was no movement of the Holy Spirit for the change.

52johnthefireman
Feb 16, 12:58am Top

>51 hf22:

Fair comment, although I suspect that they don't need deacons, they need priests to preside at the Eucharist, which might be one of the reasons why they have not ordained married deacons.

53johnthefireman
Feb 16, 1:00am Top

>51 hf22:

Fair comment, but I would guess that they don't primarily need deacons, they need priests who can preside at the Eucharist, which might be one of the reasons they have not focused on ordaining married deacons.

54hf22
Feb 16, 3:11am Top

>52 johnthefireman:

If that were true, it would make the request for deaconesses extremely ideological.

But from the Synod itself, many participants reported permanent deacons would be very helpful in providing a "ministry of presence", even if they could only provide Word/Communion services rather than the Mass.

The flip side is, if they actually follow the Pope's request to create a permanent deaconate & it doesn't of itself help the problems, Francis is actually a fair chance of reconsidering his decision.

55johnthefireman
Feb 16, 4:40am Top

>54 hf22:The flip side is, if they actually follow the Pope's request to create a permanent deaconate & it doesn't of itself help the problems, Francis is actually a fair chance of reconsidering his decision.

Why do you say "the flip side"? In my view it would be a good thing if it resolves the problem. Francis himself has been quoted as saying he is not personally in favour of creating a married priesthood but what can we do about the problem of people who don't have access to the Mass?

56hf22
Feb 16, 4:57am Top

>55 johnthefireman:

Why do you say "the flip side"?

The flip side to him saying "No".

In my view it would be a good thing if it resolves the problem.

Personally, I agree with the Pope that it *won't* resolve the problem in practice, and thus isn't a good thing. I was an Anglican long enough to know they still have big shortages despite ordaining married men and women, and it comes with financial burdens our parishes just don't have the culture of giving needed to met.

but what can we do about the problem of people who don't have access to the Mass?

Something supported by evidence of practical success, not just ideological wishes.

Like Pope Francis says, reality is greater than ideas.

57johnthefireman
Feb 16, 6:40am Top

>56 hf22:

A thousand years ago or thereabouts the Church faced up to practical realities and changed the existing discipline on celibacy. Now the Church is looking at the practical realities in places like the Amazon and two thirds of the bishops in that region are questioning whether the Church once again needs to change the existing discipline.

It should also be noted that nobody is contemplating abandoning celibacy. There will always be celibate priests in the Church (just as there are in the Eastern Rite, and indeed amongst your own former Anglican brethren), and it is a gift to be valued. But already the Church has changed the discipline and allowed married priests in a limited case, again your own former Anglican brethren, in the face of one reality, so why is it such a problem to allow the limited case of viri probati becoming married priests in another reality?

This I have no idea why you are invoking ideology, nor indeed ideas. This is all about reality.

58hf22
Edited: Feb 16, 10:35pm Top

>57 johnthefireman:

Now the Church is looking at the practical realities in places like the Amazon and two thirds of the bishops in that region are questioning whether the Church once again needs to change the existing discipline.

And Pope Francis has decided there is no case to change it, including because the absence of married deacons suggests it won't solve the problem. But he might change his mind if that underlying fact can be changed.

so why is it such a problem to allow the limited case of viri probati becoming married priests in another reality?

Because the Pope realises, as the German bishops can't stop pointing out, an exception for priest shortages would be just as applicable in Europe as in the Amazon. And so any exception on that basis would, in justice, have to be granted globally to all those lacking the Mass (quickly making married priests the norm).

And the Pope doesn't want to do that, and so lose the witness of a majority celibate priesthood. In fact, in his own words, he'd rather die than let that happen on his watch.

This I have no idea why you are invoking ideology, nor indeed ideas. This is all about reality.

Because those close to the Pope have said his concern about the ideological, & non pastoral, nature of the proposal turned him off it. And frankly, the response from many to his decision, rather prove him right on that point.

59johnthefireman
Feb 16, 11:21pm Top

>58 hf22: lose the witness of a majority celibate priesthood

Do you think we will lose the majority celibate priesthood? I somehow doubt it. We are talking about limited cases, not a change in the entire nature of the priesthood. If it were to be agreed, there would be a small number of viri probati, just as there are currently a small number of married former Anglican clergy. The former Anglican clergy will not be replaced when they retire or die, and likewise the viri probati, being old, will not have long active priesthoods. Note also that the Amazonian viri probati are envisaged to be extremely local, a man from an isolated community serving that community only, not being transferred around the diocese in the manner we are used to with our traditional celibate priests. And in principle the change has already been accepted, by a former pope, when the Church decided to ordain married former Anglicans.

60johnthefireman
Feb 16, 11:24pm Top

For some reason this reminds me of the old Catholic joke about Pope John Paul II receiving a vision of the Holy Spirit. "You can ask me three questions", she says. The pope's first question is, "Will there ever be married priests?" "Don't worry, not in your lifetime" replies the Holy Spirit. "Will there ever be women priests?" Same response, "Don't worry, not in your lifetime". JPII's final question is, "Will there ever be another Polish pope?" "Don't worry", she replies, "Not in my lifetime!"

61hf22
Yesterday, 2:36am Top

>59 johnthefireman:

The German Bishops have made it clear, publicly & repeatedly, that if married priests were approved for the Amazon, their Synodal Way would equally demand it for Germany.

And how could they be denied, if the reasoning is priest shortages? Their lack of priests probably denies the sacraments to more people numerical than in the Amazon! And if it applies in Germany, then there is no where it does not apply, & celibacy will have be abolished outside of religious orders & people who want to be Bishops.

Look, I'd care precisely zero if the Pope decided to adopt the Eastern Catholic discipline for the Latin rite. It is doctrinally fine, and if the Pope agreed, then why not? Not my hobby horse.

But we need to be honest & realistic. A limited exception for the Amazon based on need isn't sustainable, because that need is equally as pressing all over the global. It is politically & substantively different than the Anglican exemption, which is time limited & easy to show why it doesn't apply to places like Germany.

It just isn't a real, practically available choice. As the Pope recognised.

62hf22
Edited: Yesterday, 2:40am Top

>60 johnthefireman:

Please keep your mean spirited & uncatholic jokes to yourself.

63johnthefireman
Edited: Today, 9:26am Top

>62 hf22:

Well, we cradle Catholics know how to laugh at ourselves and our Church.

Reminds me of one of my mentors, one of the finest Catholic priests I ever knew, a missionary who sadly died young of cancer. He used to smoke, drink, swear and tell off-colour jokes. When challenged, he cited St Peter. Peter was a fisherman, and my friend said that every fisherman he had ever met smoked, drank, swore and told dirty jokes.

64johnthefireman
Edited: Yesterday, 6:12am Top

>61 hf22: And how could they be denied, if the reasoning is priest shortages? Their lack of priests probably denies the sacraments to more people numerical than in the Amazon!

Well, I don't have the statistics, but I doubt that. The shortage of priests in Europe and north America mostly means that one priest has to serve several parishes, that there might only be one mass instead of six in a parish church of a Sunday, or that people might have to drive a few kilometres to find mass. In the Amazon (and indeed in parts of Africa and probably Asia) we are talking about people who get mass maybe once or twice a year if they're lucky, who live in isolated communities which are often cut off, with no regular means of transport to the nearest main centre. We're also often talking about indigenous people who feel marginalised by the dominant culture and who would benefit from having a local priest who speaks their language and understands their culture.

In the village in which I live in Kenya we're lucky to get mass once a month, when a Franciscan priest comes from about 35 kms away, if the road is passable and if his car is working. On other Sundays I can drive 35 km to church, again depending on weather and if the road is passable, and whether my car has recovered from whatever damage was caused to it by the previous 70 km round trip on rough tracks, but most of the local Catholics don't have cars and so don't have that option. Also, the visiting priest provides mass in Kiswahili, which many of the local rural people don't understand, especially the women and elders. My village is by no means isolated compared, say, to parishes where I have worked in Sudan, but still it's an example of where ordaining a local elder Catholic, who lives in the village and who is from the same language and culture as the community, would be very valuable.

65hf22
Yesterday, 6:45am Top

>63 johnthefireman:

You are not laughing at yourself - You are telling a mean spirited joke about a factional enemy.

Kindly keep it, and your rationalisations for sin, to yourself.

66hf22
Yesterday, 6:55am Top

>64 johnthefireman:

Well, I don't have the statistics, but I doubt that.

I'm sure the Germans will helpfully provide the stats in due course. They will probably even be valid, given we have good evidence reducing Mass times and increasing distance to Mass results in materially reduced attendance, which adds up quickly in high population areas.

My village is by no means isolated compared, say, to parishes where I have worked in Sudan, but still it's an example of where ordaining a local elder Catholic, who lives in the village and who is from the same language and culture as the community, would be very valuable.

So not just for the Amazon then? Good we can finally agree to dismiss that furphy.

And has any local elder Catholic there been ordained a Permanent Deacon, such that there might actually be some hope for a married priestly vocation? Because otherwise you promise a solution which isn't actually practically available.

67johnthefireman
Yesterday, 9:44am Top

>65 hf22: You are telling a mean spirited joke about a factional enemy.

Really? Do I have a factional enemy? Are you projecting, by any chance? Lighten up, my friend, and accept humour for what it is. I don't know about you lot across the Pond, but where I come from we laugh at that which we love and think important. There's nothing mean-spirited about it, unless you choose to inject it, which, frankly, would be a bit mean-spirited of you, wouldn't it?

>66 hf22:

There have been married deacons in Sudan and South Africa, although I don't know the current status. But it's not deacons which are needed, it's priests, which is why I think the permanent diaconate has been slow to take off here. The ministry of the diaconate is complementary to that of the priest, but without a priest to preside at the Eucharist deacons are not sufficient.

68hf22
Edited: Yesterday, 4:58pm Top

>67 johnthefireman:

Really? Do I have a factional enemy?

Ok boomer.

Seriously, the punchline of the joke is "bad man we don't like is bad". It's entire humor is based on the audience sharing a mutual factional dislike of the target. It is the same genre as trads joking about felt banners & old ladies in pantsuits - Mean spirited.

But it's not deacons which are needed, it's priests

And yet deacons would undoubtedly help, running parishes, presiding over Word/Communion Services etc.

And so if there are no married vocations for this, why would there be for a married priesthood? Because an evidence based, non ideological view, would indicate there will not be.

And if people and local Churches want to prove otherwise, the way is clear. Create a sizable Permanent Diaconate which is ready and able to be ordained priest, *then* ask for the discipline to be changed.

69johnthefireman
Edited: Today, 12:30am Top

>68 hf22: It's entire humor is based on the audience sharing a mutual factional dislike of the target.

Well, you're the audience, so are you saying you dislike JPII? I don't dislike him, and most of the Catholics I have heard tell this joke also don't dislike him. It's just a humorous take on Catholic life. JPII happens to be a larger than life figure who fits easily into humour, but if it hadn't been a Pole who was the first non-Italian pope for centuries, we'd now be telling a similar joke about another German or Argentinian pope ("Not in my lifetime", boom, boom). It seems to me that either you don't have any sense of humour (or at least not a sense of humour that an English Catholic can identify with) or else you are so obsessed with "factionalism" in the Church that you see even good-natured humour as "mean spirited". As I said earlier, that sounds like projection to me. Not every joke is weaponised in support of a "faction", you know. Some are just funny.

I don't know any jokes about "felt banners & old ladies in pantsuits" (and I don't even really know what they are) so I have no idea what that is all about.

But let me add that there are "mean spirited" jokes, namely those which humiliate, demean and ridicule marginalised, minority, vulnerable, disadvantaged and oppressed groups, and which reinforce that dynamic. That's why it is no longer considered acceptable to tell jokes which are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. But a joke about our much loved and now canonised former pope, one of the most powerful religious figures of his time, told not by an anti-Catholic but by a lifelong committed Catholic? Nope, that doesn't fall into that category.

But I think we're way off topic on the Amazon Synod, and clearly we're not going to agree about what a sense of humour is all about (nor indeed about very much else, I reckon).

70johnthefireman
Edited: Today, 9:15am Top

Widower-turned-priest backs both celibacy, viri probati (Crux)

Only anecdotal, of course, but again an example that not all who are in favour of married viri probati to be ordained are against celibacy. I agree with him in fact, that celibacy is valuable in providing freedom to priests under the current model of priesthood. However I think the viri probati model would be a different type of priesthood, rooted in a village rather than being available to be transferred anywhere, serving one small community rather than large multiple parishes and chapels, and with less demands on the priest's time and energy than that of a "typical" current priest. The workload of a viri probati priest would probably be no more than that of a married deacon. Of course there would still be a place for both types of priest, and the celibate ones would almost certainly remain the majority and the most visible.

71hf22
Today, 2:29am Top

>69 johnthefireman:

The Holy Spirit for women priests, and ensuring no more backward Polaks in Rome.

Sure, not a racist joke at all. Nothing like the "bog Irish" jokes you sometimes still hear in some "sophisticated" Catholic circles in England or here in Australia. No sir.

Just gross, the whole thing.

72johnthefireman
Today, 5:13am Top

>71 hf22:

I have no idea what you are talking about. I think we've exhausted the topic of humour, or the lack of a sense thereof?

732wonderY
Today, 8:38am Top

>62 hf22: Cradle Catholic here. I found no offense in John's humor.

If you want to report him to the Big Guy, that phone number is et cum spirit-220.

74johnthefireman
Today, 9:16am Top

>73 2wonderY:

Thanks, Ruth. I was beginning to wonder whether my sense of humour was weirder than I thought, but you have reassured me. At least there are two of us mad Catholics around!

752wonderY
Today, 9:22am Top

I would have spoken sooner, but I was off grid, working on my ridgetop.

76johnthefireman
Today, 9:24am Top

>75 2wonderY:

We're off grid for power and water on our ridgetop, but fortunately we still get a cellphone signal (well, most of the time) and I access internet on the 3G network. Browsing is fast enough for my needs, and it's not too expensive as long as we don't watch too much YouTube.

772wonderY
Today, 10:47am Top

I like being out of touch, with no EMF reaching me unless I go into town. It's peaceful.

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