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Vatican on celibacy: An exception to the rule does not mean to eliminate the rule


The Vatican insists that the working document of the Amazonian Synod is just that, a working document, meant to be discussed and modified.

One of the points that has attracted the most media attention is the one ensuring the synod will study the possibility of ordaining married men as priests.

FR. MIGUEL YÁÑEZ
Moral Theologian, Pontifical Gregorian University

"Why? Because there are places where priests go every two or three years. So, of course, what Christian community can survive with such a poor sacramental presence? This is the proposal that comes from the Amazon. I clarify that it is a proposal; suggestions."

Professor Miguel Yánez explains this is not the first time the ordination of non-celibate men has been up for question in the Church. In fact, the Catholic Church already recognizes the priesthood of married men. For example, Benedict XVI allowed married Anglican priests into the Catholic Church.

FR. MIGUEL YÁÑEZ
Moral Theologian, Pontifical Gregorian University

"It's not the first time this exception would be made. This exists in the Church. The pope can expand it, and apply the exception to additional cases."

Yet, it is up to the synod participants to discuss this issue during their assembly from October 6 to 27. The Vatican says this would only open an exception, not eliminate a rule.

FR. MIGUEL YÁÑEZ
Moral Theologian, Pontifical Gregorian University

"Let's not forget, when we say an exception to a rule, we are not saying to abolish the rule. We are saying 'exception,' which means that the rule is maintained.”

This working document gathers the fruit of the consultations with the Amazonian peoples since October 2017, when Pope Francis convened this synod for the Amazon.