By: Sandro Magister
ROME, September 21, 2016 – Pope Francis received in audience a few days ago the Brazilian cardinal Cláudio Hummes, accompanied by the archbishop of Natal, Jaime Vieira Rocha.
Hummes, 82, former archbishop of São Paulo and prefect of the Vatican congregation for the clergy, is today the president both of the commission for the Amazon of the episcopal conference of Brazil and of the Pan-Amazonian Network that joins together 25 cardinals and bishops of the surrounding countryside, in addition to indigenous representatives of different local ethnicities.
And in this capacity he [Hummes] supports, among others, the proposal to make up for the scarcity of celibate priests in immense areas like the Amazon by also conferring sacred ordination upon “viri probati,” meaning married men of proven virtue.
The news of the audience therefore gave the idea that Pope Francis had discussed this very question with Hummes, and in particular an “ad hoc” synod of the 38 dioceses of the Amazon, which is effectively in an advanced phase of preparation.
Not only that. There is renewed vigor behind the rumor that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wants to assign to the next worldwide synod of bishops, scheduled for 2018, precisely the question of ordained ministers, bishops, priests, deacons, including the ordination of married men. Read more.
Here’s a great story of a man whose first date with the woman he eventually married was the ordination of his best friend. It’s inspiring, humorous and romantic all at the same time. The author, Brian Doyle, is the editor of Portland magazine, but the piece appears in the November 2013 edition of First Things, a journal on religion and the public square. Here’s a sample:
“…the actual moment of ordination, the Laying on of Hands, when the bishop cups the candidate’s head like a coconut and prays silently that the Holy Spirit will infuse this man with the joy of the Lord’s work and the humility necessary to achieve it, with courage against duress and with unrelenting faith in the mercy of the One upon us all; but we had, to my dismay, missed a lot of the cool parts of the ordination already, parts I knew about because my friend Tom had told me about them with high glee and anticipation: the gathering of the candidates on the steps of the church, and the last hurried cigarette before becoming a priest for the rest of your life, and afterward too; the Calling of the Candidates after opening prayers, during which the bishop basically takes attendance and makes sure no man slept in late or got married the night before or bagged out altogether so as not to miss the Knicks game…”
Read the entire article here: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/11/my-first-ordination