Married priests will be discussed at Amazon Synod: Vatican spokesman
VATICAN CITY, September 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Discussing married priests is definitely on the agenda of the upcoming Synod on the Amazon.
According to ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language affiliate of CNA, the editorial director of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, Andrea Tornielli, said that the ordination of married men will be discussed during the synod.
In an interview conducted on September 19, he stated that the issue has still not yet been decided.
“The synod will discuss the possibility, for territories like the Amazon, to propose the ordination of married men,” he said.
“That is, the ordination of catechists, older persons who already have a role of responsibility in several communities. But it’s not a decision already made, nor is it certain that [the] synod will arrive at that decision,” he continued.
“In any case it would not be a decision of the synod but it would be a decision of the pope.”
The married father of three explained that the synod doesn’t decide anything because it is merely a “consultative body” and the pontiff is the decision-maker. Saying he had read the Instrumentum Laboris, Tornielli mentioned its concern for people who live in remote areas without access to the sacraments or frequent visits by priests.
Noting that there are married men among Catholic priests of the Eastern Rites, Tornielli also flagged up Anglican clergymen who convert to Catholicism and are ordained to the Latin Rite despite being married. This provision has existed, “as an exception, from the time of Pius XII,” he said.
“Pope Pacelli received former Anglican priests who wanted to enter into communion with Rome and as they were married they were ordained priests and they support their families,” Tornielli continued.
“Pope Benedict himself with the constitution Anglicanorum coetibus has established that this exception can continue in the case of the Anglicans. So there already are exceptions.”
With the establishment of the Anglican ordinariate, Catholic-minded Anglicans who had not yet converted to Roman Catholicism entered into communion with Rome. In the U.S. alone, over 100 Anglican (or Episcopalians, as they are generally known in the U.S.) clergymen applied to become Catholic priests in the first week of the ordinariate’s establishment.
However, not all is smooth sailing when a married clergyman becomes a Catholic priest. Caroline Farrow, the wife of a former Anglican who is now a Catholic priest, told LifeSiteNews that she does not support “married priests overall.”
“Being a clergy wife is also a vocation,” she said via social media. “And that’s not something which is ever talked about.”
“And like yesterday’s readings said it’s very difficult to serve two masters,” Farrow continued.
“My husband is always aware that his gift to the Lord is not as great as the celibates. And that’s a difficult tension to live with.”
Farrow said that there is an “implicit understanding” that wives and children come second in the life of a married priest. She can’t even ask her husband to miss Mass or to stop what he’s doing to help with the children. Meanwhile, parishioners worry about what she might hear about them, and there is even resentment that her husband is “one of the ‘lucky’ ones” who didn’t have to leave off being a clergyman to get married. Money is tight, and there is no emotional support from bishops for wives who, like Farrow, suffer while fighting Church causes.
“But it’s a spiritual vocation for wives who need support, too, and the entire Church in all these conversations never consider that,” said the mother of five.
“It’s a utilitarian view in terms of the service and use of your husband.”