The Vatican has opened the door to the possibility of married men becoming priests in remote parts of the Amazon basin. There is currently a drastic shortage of priests in the region – which extends across the borders of nine South American countries – and ministering to such a far-flung flock poses severe logistical challenges. Pope Francis first mooted the idea of ordaining viri probati (men of proven virtue) in remote communities two years ago. Now, the idea has been slated for discussion at the Amazon Synod, which is scheduled for October. The candidates for the priesthood should be “elderly men, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted members of their communities”, with grown-up families, says a document outlining the areas for discussion. Currently, the only married Roman Catholic priests are former Anglican priests who converted. (The Week 22 June 2019)
Sounds to me like the beginning of an unavoidable change. As candidates for the priesthood become fewer and fewer it seems inevitable that older, married men – and women – are accepted as priests. And a good thing , too. I used to know an Anglican priest who was married, had worked for years for British Petroleum, and had become a vicar in middle age. A wise man and a good listener. with a bit of charisma. That’s what these churches need for pastoral work and for rebuilding congregations. Not that, as a follower of Epicurus, I have any particular right to advise anyone about the policies of the Catholic church!