Cardinal Grech: The synod ‘needs time’ on the question of married priests

By Gerard O'Connell, 26 September 2022
Image: Annie Theby/Unsplash


Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Vatican’s synod office, says he sees “a different church” emerging from the worldwide synodal process. In the second part of this exclusive interview with America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell for the “Inside the Vatican” podcast, Cardinal Grech reveals in new depth the plans for the continental and Roman phases of the global synodal process.

Read part 1 of the interview here.

He also comments on past synod proposals, including those to ordain mature married men (viri probati) to the priesthood and to promote wider ministries for women.

Recalling that Pope Francis has made it clear that he doesn’t want pressure groups that try to drive through their own agendas at synods, I told the cardinal I understood that Pope Francis felt there was a risk of this at the Amazon synod. When he sensed that a number of participants were pushing to get approval for some proposals, like ordaining mature married men as priests, he didn’t say ‘yes’, but made clear that he wasn’t saying ‘no’ either; instead, he was waiting for the conversation on these topics to mature. I asked the cardinal if this was a correct interpretation of what happened.

Asked to confirm whether the pope’s response to the question of ordaining married men “is not a rejection” but rather is “a question that hasn’t matured yet,” Cardinal Grech said, “Yes. We need time!”

Having covered as a journalist all the Vatican’s synods since 1985, I told the cardinal that I have seen very significant changes in the synods, above all under Pope Francis, including greater participation of women in them. At the Amazon synod especially, there was a strong push for the recognition of more ministries for women, and not just those of lector and acolyte, which Pope Francis has opened to women last year. I asked the cardinal if he has seen this push for opening more ministries to women coming through in the reports from the different churches during this synod.

“I noticed that across the board, there is this [desire] to discern more in depth about the role of women in the church, to appreciate their specific contribution,” he responded. “And [with] the fact that various churches are taking this same issue seriously, I really hope and pray that in time we will manage to find what is the right vocation of women in the church.”

To continue reading the second part of Gerard O’Connell’s interview with Cardinal Grech, click here.

Gerard O’Connell is America’s Vatican correspondent and author of The Election of Pope Francis: An Inside Story of the Conclave That Changed History. He has been covering the Vatican since 1985.

With thanks to America and Gerard O’Connell, where this article originally appeared.


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