Pope Francis has completed work on his highly anticipated response to last year’s Vatican gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that may allow for the ordination of married men as Catholic priests in the nine-nation region, NCR can reveal.
Catholic bishops around the world are receiving a letter from the Vatican this week, advising them that the document, which is also expected to lament devastating environmental destruction in the region and may detail new ministries for women in the church, is nearing publication.
“The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated,” states the letter, which is signed by retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes and was obtained by NCR.
“Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February,” writes Hummes, who served as the synod’s lead organiser.
Francis’ response to the Oct. 6-27 gathering, known as a Synod of Bishops, is among the most awaited documents of his nearly seven-year papacy. The text is expected to address a request from the 185 synod members that he allow for bishops in the Amazon region to ordain current married deacons as priests, in order to meet sacramental needs in the vast, hard-to-traverse area.
“Let us join in sincere prayer to Our Father of all mercies to bless Pope Francis and all the Bishops in promulgating the Exhortation, and to dispose the People of God in the Amazon and throughout the world to receive it with faith and hope, intelligently and effectively,” Hummes concludes.
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With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Joshua J. McElwee, where this article originally appeared.