The call for the laity’s greater participation in the “creation of new ministries, which respond to the needs of the Amazonian peoples” is also part of a Synodal perspective: the Church “must be creative” by proposing a multi-faceted ministry among the Indians and the peoples of the forest, reported “Vatican News” this morning on the 5th General Congregation of the Synod for Amazonia.
The Synod’s Congregation, which opened as usual with the prayer of Terce, raised a special prayer this Wednesday morning, October 9, 2019, for the difficult situation in Ecuador. 174 Synodal Fathers took part in the 5th General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region.
Lack of Priests
“When there is talk of the proposal of the viri probati, it doesn’t mean to change the ecclesiastical law but, according to the process of Synodal discernment, it can mean that this law, as all human law, can accept exceptions in concrete situations,” said this noon Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, during the press conference on the third day of the Special Synod for Amazonia.
“A careful discernment is necessary on the part of the Bishops so that no solution is excluded a priori, not even that of the Ordination of married men,” they said in the Synodal Hall, as reported by “Vatican News.”
Mentioned in the Hall was that “the lack of priests in Amazonia is not linked to celibacy, the Ordination of married persons might not resolve the problem,” Ruffini added. “ Matthew 9:8 was quoted. There was a debate on the reason why there aren’t vocations. Where did we go wrong?” asked Ruffini.
Missionary Formation with Amazonian Identity
It was said in the Synod’s 5th General Congregation that a “missionary formation” is necessary “with an Amazonian identity, an integral and integrated formation so that Amazonian missionaries arise,” stressed Paolo Ruffini.
Then the petition resounded of many seminarians for an “affective formation to heal the wounds caused by the sexual revolution: today many want to rediscover and know the value of celibacy and chastity.” The Church doesn’t remain silent in this regard but offers her treasure: the doctrine that transforms hearts.
Ruffini pointed out that there was talk of a “permanent diaconate of Indians” to “give the plenitude of the Holy Spirit to the attitude of service proper of the indigenous peoples.” “It is clear that the functions that can be entrusted to Permanent Deacons are different: the ministry of the Word in their own language; in the second place, the ministry of sanctification, by administering the Sacrament of Baptism, witnessing the celebration of marriages, blessing homes, harvests, the sick, the ministry of charity, etc.,`” he continued. There was also talk of the formation of Permanent Deacons, of the family and the deacon’s wife,” noted the Vatican’s Prefect for Communication.
“The rites don’t have to be translated, but adapted. For instance, Baptism: in the Church, it was interpreted in an opposite way by the Indians, because devils don’t enter the Church in the Indian culture. Attention must be paid and not think that what qualifies Christian life is the ordained ministry. Where two or more persons gather in Jesus’ name, the Church of Jesus is there,” he said.
A Lay Feminine Ministry
At the same time, it was agreed that we must “combat the generalized violence against women,” and the idea was proffered to establish a lay ministry of women for evangelization. “It’s necessary to promote a more active participation of women in the life of the Church from a Samaritan perspective,” pointed out the Report of “Vatican News.”
The general health of Amazonia was also one of the concerns expressed this morning in the Hall of the Synodal Fathers. The model of the development of capitalism, which devours nature, the fires that are destroying the regions, corruption, deforestation and, in fact, illegal crops threaten both the health of people as well as that of the earth and of the whole planet.
For his part, Father Giacomo Costa, Secretary of the Commission of Communication of the Synod of Bishops, highlighted the “need to value and have ministries arise with profiles that enable us to recognize personal charisms in a more structured way, namely, laypersons with stability and acknowledged publicly given the service they can offer the Church.”
Therefore, the “creativity of the Church” was proposed regarding new ministries to respond better to the needs of the Amazonian peoples, pointed out Father Costa. Marked in this connection was a perspective of “ecological conversion,” the idea of “ecological ministries,” which could be entrusted to the laity.
“Of course, this also implies promoting lay ministries, taking into account the capacity and sensibility of women as true ecclesial subjects at the service of communion and of evangelization and attention to the world of suffering,” suggested Father Costa.
“It’s not about claiming things, but about recognizing things that are already being lived, and to have this role recognized with greater stability, with greater strength,” he added.