Synod opts for major vocations push, not easing of celibacy

In a draft list of propositions, the Synod of Bishops recommended no relaxation of church rules on priestly celibacy and instead proposed greater vocations efforts as the answer to the shortage of priests.

CLICK HERECatholic News Service reports that the idea of ordaining married men in the Western church is "a road not to follow," said Proposition 11, one of 50 propositions presented to the synod Oct. 18. After possible amendments, the propositions were to be voted on later in the week.

The propositions contained proposals on several other topics of interest during this month's synod on the Eucharist:

- Proposition 40 said Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment "cannot be admitted to holy Communion" because they are in clear contrast with church teaching on marriage.

- Proposition 46 said there is no "eucharistic coherence" when Catholic politicians promote laws that go against human good, justice and natural law.

- Proposition 41 repeated church teaching that shared Communion with non-Catholic Christians "is generally not possible."

- Regarding Sunday Liturgies of the Word when no priest is present, Proposition 10 said it was up to bishops' conferences to set policies on distribution of Communion, but it asked the Vatican to consider preparing a new document spelling out universal rules on such liturgies.

The issue of ordaining married men of proven virtue, or "viri probati", was raised by several bishops in discussion of the shortage of priests that afflicts many parts of the world.

Proposition 11 said the lack of priests was a cause of "acute pain" and said the situation called for "effective pastoral initiatives."

But it added: "In this context, the synod fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin Church." Catholic faithful, it said, need to better know the reasons behind the relationship between celibacy and ordination.

"Some participants made reference to 'viri probati,' but in the end the small discussion groups evaluated this hypothesis as a road not to follow," it said.

The propositions called for new efforts at fostering vocations. They said pastors should not be afraid to propose the priesthood as a radical way of following Christ. They encouraged prayers and eucharistic adoration celebrations for the intent of priestly vocations.

They also called for a more equitable distribution of priests and for a willingness among priests themselves to serve where they are most needed.

The synod's theme is the Eucharist, and the propositions distilled more than two weeks of discussion by more than 250 participants. The propositions, which are considered secret, will be given to Pope Benedict XVI for possible use in a future papal document.

Other propositions briefly treated several liturgical and sacramental issues. They made no mention of granting wider latitude for celebrating the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass, reflecting a general lack of discussion on the issue during synod assemblies.

One proposition, titled "The Eucharist and Polygamy," said the church's teaching on marriage requires that those entering the church break off polygamist relationships before receiving the sacraments. It said the church recognizes that this process may take time and requires a combination of "tenderness and firmness" on the part of pastors.

The propositions underlined the Eucharist's connection with social justice issues and even with ecological concerns. They said eucharistic celebrations can have prophetic power in places of conflict and war.

Synod proposes greater vocations efforts, no easing of celibacy rules (Catholic News Service 18/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Synod of Bishops
Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin

Synod takes time off to work on combining propositions (CathNews 18/10/05)
Synod told of Eucharist as 'pulsating heart' of Timor mission (CathNews 17/10/05)
Synod bishops seek middle ground solutions (CathNews 14/10/05)
Synod frank talk producing few breakthroughs (CathNews 13/10/05)
Pell call to preserve celibacy rule (CathNews 12/10/05)
Irish archbishop says Liturgy of Word can heal (CathNews 11/10/05)
Hobart Archbishop insists on credit for hardworking priests (CathNews 10/10/05)
Opus Dei head argues against giant masses (CathNews 7/10/05)
Oceania bishops plead case for married clergy (CathNews 7/10/05)
Kiwi bishop challenges Synod to review communion ban for divorced (CathNews 6/10/05)
Pope talks to Synod about collegiality (CathNews 5/10/05)
Pope opens Synod with Eucharist link to peaceful, just society (CathNews 4/10/05)
Aussie Synod expert stresses Eucharist values before rules (CathNews 29/9/05)
Two Australians on auditors list for October Synod (CathNews 27/9/05)
Synod tipped to stress Sunday Mass obligation (CathNews 28/9/05)
Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod (CathNews 9/9/05)
Synod threat to youth masses (CathNews 25/7/05)

Nineteenth General Congregation (Vatican Information Service 18/10/05)
Sunday: Conclusion of synod, canonization of five blesseds (Vatican Information Service 18/10/05)
Pope to write letter to Chinese bishops invited to Synod (AsiaNews.it 18/10/05)
Synod working groups draft suggestions to help priestless parishes (Catholic News Service 17/10/05)
Pope presents bishops with symbolic ring, given integrated document of propositions (Catholic News Agency 18/10/05)
Pope given first volume of Synod history (Catholic News Agency 18/10/05)
Synod to conclude Sunday with 5 beatifications (Catholic News Agency 18/10/05)
Chinese bishops write Synod; Pope to reply (Catholic World News 18/10/05)
Synod summaries: 18th and 19th Congregations (Independent Catholic News 18/10/05)
"Listen to the Cry of the Poor," Urges Benedict XVI (Zenit 16/10/05)
Eucharist Seen as an Antidote to Drug Addiction (Zenit 16/10/05)
Synod Fathers Have a Day of Reflection and Adoration (Zenit 17/10/05)
Key Question: How Is Jesus Present in the Eucharist? (Zenit 17/10/05)

19 Oct 2005