“The ministerial theme is important,” said Card Schönborn. It “is part of the new paths for the Church in the Amazon. The role of women in our communities, together with that of the instituted and ordained ministries, is certainly a topic discussed at the Synod. We shall see what proposals will be submitted to the Holy Father at the end.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The draft of the final document of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region was presented this morning by its general rapporteur, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes. Pope Francis was also present.
"Card Hummes outlined the project of the final document,” said Dr Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See. The “drafting has begun, but the process of listening has not finished” yet.
The text presented in fact will now go to the small groups for outlining the "collective ways", i.e. the proposed amendments. With the help of experts, they will be included in the final Document by the General Rapporteur and the Special Secretaries.
That text will be then reviewed by the Commission responsible for the final draft, which will be read out on Friday afternoon, during the 15th General Congregation. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, the 16th General Congregation will vote on it.
During the briefing, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, underlined the importance and value of the permanent deaconate, "very important and significant for the life of the Church". The latter, he added, “is one of the possibilities that Vatican II had opened, but it was already part of the life of the Church".
In relation to the Synod, the cardinal explained that “The ministerial theme is important, it is part of the new paths for the Church in the Amazon. The role of women in our communities, together with that of the instituted and ordained ministries, is certainly a topic discussed at the Synod. Let us see what proposals will be submitted to the Holy Father at the end.”
In this regard, Vatican News published an interview with Brother Joao Mariano Coelho Sampajo, an expert on the vocational ministry at the Rede Pan-Amazônica Eclesial (Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network, REPAM).
“My work has always been in the pastoral care of vocations,” Brother Coelho said, among other things. “My experience tells me that indigenous people are enthusiastic about the Gospel. But often they do not understand our vocational message.
"In the Synod, priestly celibacy has never been questioned, ever. Instead, the need to find other forms of ministeriality has been highlighted, the ministry of the Eucharist or the Word, for example. "
This can certainly help the Church, "but it must not be seen as a way to cope with the emergency of lack of priests. It concerns the very ontology of the Church. Why can't there be other forms of service, alongside the priestly one, that other people, even married ones, can access? The question is open and concerns the sense of belonging to the Church.”
Card Schönborn also touched on the "problem of the distribution of the clergy". At present, "Some 1,200 priests from Colombia serve in the United States, Canada and Spain. At least some might be willing to go to the Amazon.” This requires some “self-criticism on the part of the universal Church in relation to those regions which, like the Amazon, find themselves facing pastoral difficulties.”