CBCP: Proposal to ordain married men limited to certain areas
MANILA, Philippines — The proposal for the ordination of married men is limited to the Amazon region, where there is a scarcity of clergy, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Sunday.
“The proposal is only for a definite territory or area where lack of priests is a critical concern,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent committee on public affairs.
“It doesn’t call for married men per se, but for married deacons with adequate formation to be allowed ordination in the Amazon,” Secillano said.
He said the proposal of the special Vatican synod (assembly) on the Amazon still needed approval of Pope Francis before it could be allowed in the region.
Secillano said Catholics should not be worried about married men being ordained in the whole Church because this was not the intention of the synod fathers.
But Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said married men should be allowed to become priests.
The two frequent Twitter users weighed in on the priestly celibacy debate as the Pope heard the assembly’s proposal.
“No religion should prevent its priests from loving another human being, marrying them and eventually having a family. They become wiser and understand the many dimensions of marriage, intimate relations and family that way,” Leonen tweeted on Sunday.
Locsin agreed, tweeting: “Certainly the Catholic does not; priests have left the order of Melchizedek to marry and raise a family fortunate in having the best educated husband and father because the study for the priesthood is the most intellectually demanding; the quantum physics of salvation no less.”
In the Book of Genesis, Melchizedek is a king and priest who founded a priestly order whose members are not descendants of Aaron.
In Judaism, only descendants of Aaron may become priests.
Jesus is said to be a priest of Melchizedek because he is not a descendant of Aaron.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he would accept it if the Pope approved the Amazon synod’s proposal.
“Celibacy is a Church discipline so the Church can decide to change the practice. For about 1,000 years the Latin Church had married clergy,” Pabillo said.
“There is great value in celibacy, but I do not know the pastoral situation in the Amazonia. If the Pope decides, I willingly accept his decision,” he said. —With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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