Another purpose behind the Amazon Synod was to start the process of preparing Roman Catholics for a future relaxation of the doctrine of priestly celibacy. This will come as a surprise to many. After all, what possible connection could there be between Indian tribes in the Amazon and priestly celibacy?
Ah, but there is.
In the vast Amazon region, there are not enough priests for all the Roman Catholics among the many tribes. In some places a priest is only able to visit once a year, to say mass and perform “baptisms” and marriages. In other places the Indians almost never see a priest. To address this, the working document for the Synod contained a proposal for a type of ordination for village elders. They would not be priests, they would not have all the attributes of priests, and they would have to be in stable relationships; but they would be able to preside over certain rituals of the faith, for example “eucharistic celebrations”, i.e. the mass.
Sure enough, when the Synod was under way, the proposals started flowing – from those within the hierarchy of the “Church” of Rome, be it noted! – to address the scarcity of priests in the Amazon region, including proposals to revise the formation programme for candidates to the priesthood, to start new ministries for “lay men and lay women”, to ordain married men of “proven virtue”, and to ordain women deacons.
A bishop, Rafael Cob Garcia, said one reason that there are so few men becoming priests in the Amazon is the “difficulty understanding disciplinary norms of the Catholic Church, including celibacy.” Conditions in the Amazon are different, he said, which is why the “Church” needs to look at “new pathways”.
When it became known that this was going to be proposed at the Synod it caused a worldwide stir among Roman Catholics, as some believed it meant the first step towards eventually permitting married priests. Francis denied it, but his denials mean nothing.
What, then, was going on?
It is really quite simple, but also very Jesuitical in its craftiness.
The fact is, it is not only the Amazon which faces this problem. In many parts of the world there are not enough priests, to a large extent because of the obstacle of celibacy. Men do not want to enter the priesthood and remain celibate. Priestly ordinations have been declining drastically in recent times. Something had to be done.
The answer: to start preparing the Roman Catholic faithful for an eventual relaxation of the requirement for priestly celibacy. But because this would not be popular among traditionalist Roman Catholics, it would have to be introduced gradually. And the best way to do it would be to point to some remote part of the world where there are few priests, and begin to initiate changes there, where such changes would not affect Roman Catholics elsewhere, but which could later be adopted everywhere as the concept gradually became more acceptable. In other words, the Amazon region would become a gigantic field test. Rome could point to the region and say, “There are just too few priests there. We have to do something! Let’s grant certain married men some priestly powers.” Then, as this becomes accepted, it will be extended to other parts of the world.
Rome already permits married Anglican priests who pervert to Rome to become Romish priests. They are ordained to the Romish priesthood even though they have wives. This latest proposal, then, is merely the next step in the softening-up process.
Rome plans to maintain its doctrine of priestly celibacy, but is creating various exceptions to the rule. And all so as to maintain its grip on the people! In a day and age when celibacy is rejected more than ever before, this appears to the Vatican to be the solution.
Lest any think that the above is merely this author’s interpretation of the Synod, read carefully the following, written by the Romish cardinal, Walter Brandmûller, who saw right through the real Jesuitical intent of the Synod. In his critique he made no bones about it: “It is impossible to conceal that the ‘synod’ intends, above all, to help implement two most cherished projects that heretofore have never been implemented: namely, the abolition of priestly celibacy and the introduction of a female priesthood – beginning with female deacons.” Well, perhaps not the complete abolition of celibacy – but certainly the introduction of a married priesthood alongside a celibate priesthood.
After the Synod Peter Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana, said: “This issue will probably be made the subject matter of a more detailed study with a view to the Church taking a consistent position, not only in view of the Amazon, but of the universal Church” (italics added). It becomes very clear that the Amazon Synod was just the beginning, a clever way to introduce the subject to the worldwide Roman Catholic population, to get them used to the idea gradually, by harping on, firstly, about the “pastoral needs” in the vast Amazon region with too few priests, and then secondly, by pushing the point that really what the Amazon needs is what the universal “Church” needs.
He went on to say this very thing, in no uncertain terms: “The situations in the Amazon are pretty similar to those in the Congo. In both cases, accessibility is very difficult and reduced, communication is tough, and if you want to get to places either by road or by river those challenges are there.” He added that in the Congo, trained Roman Catholic catechists are leaders in their local communities, who already preach, baptize, bury the dead, and serve as “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.”
Pedro Barreto, Jesuit cardinal and president delegate of the Synod, said: “At no time was celibacy called into question. Let this be very clear: celibacy is a gift of God for the Church and it’s going to be kept. What has been talked about is the possibility that married persons be able to receive Priestly Ordination – they are two different things.”
The proposal in the Synod’s final document was “to ordain as priests suitable and recognized men of the community, who have a fruitful Permanent Diaconate and receive appropriate formation for the Presbyterate, being able to have a legitimately constituted and stable family, to support the life of the Christian community through preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazonian region.”
And so we see how it will progress: first the Amazon; then places like the Congo; and finally the hierarchy will begin to say, “But you know, the same situation really exists even in Europe, and North America! After all, we are short of priests everywhere; it is time to ordain married men under certain conditions, so that we can have enough priests to serve our communities throughout the world.”