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“Ministries with an Amazonian Face”: An Eclipse of the Catholic Priesthood and the Hierarchical Character of the Church (the end)

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Cardinal Müller

In a recent interview with journalist Edward Pentin, Roman correspondent of the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented that the Instrumentum laboris for the next Special Synod for the Amazon “has been written mostly by a group of German descendants and not by people who are living there. It has a very European perspective, and I think it is more of a projection of European theological thinking upon the people of the Amazonian region because we heard all these ideas 30 years ago.”[1]

This series of articles on “lay ministries” convincingly proves the words of the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as his evaluation: “Not all of the ideas [of the Instrumentum laboris] accord with basic elements of Catholic theology.”[2]

In fact, in view of the heterodox innovations promoted by Cardinal Malula in Kinshasa and by Bishop Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas, the Holy See reacted against the attempt to attribute to laity functions reserved to clerics, and to introduce a new type of “diaconate as a couple.” Its documents reiterate the essential distinction between the ministerial priesthood of the clergy, based on the sacrament of Holy Orders and turned towards the Eucharistic sacrifice, and the universal priesthood of the faithful, oriented primarily to consecrate the temporal order and secondarily to collaborate with the clergy in its evangelizing mission.

As we saw earlier, one of these documents was the “Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests,” promulgated by no fewer than eight Roman dicasteries on August 15, 1997. Commenting on the Instruction in an article for the Osservatore Romano,[3] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, one of its signers, declared that such a measure seemed very important to avoid “the devaluation of the ordained ministry and the fall into a ‘protestantization’ of the concepts of ministry and of the Church itself.”

As the cardinal saw it, the symptoms of that protestantization were clear: “At least in some parts of the Western world we are witnessing a progressive relativization of the priestly ministry, caused on the one hand by a loss of the sense of the sacrament of Holy Orders, and on the other by the growth of a kind of parallel ministry, so-called ‘assistants’ or pastoral workers,’ who are called by the same titles as priests: pastors, Seelsorger [in German], and who exercise the role of community leader, wear liturgical vestments in celebrations, and are not visibly distinguished from priests.”

Secondly, according to the future Pope Benedict XVI, at the root of this protestantization is “a doctrinal confusion that in fact leads to thinking about the task of the laity and presbyters on a plan of substantial equality, thus generating a ‘functionalist’ ministry mentality that considers the ministry of ‘pastor’ from the point of view of function and not from its ontological sacramental reality.”

Pius VIBeyond that functionalist conception, what would justify the quasi-parity of the laity and the clergy is the doctrine formulated by the Synod of Pistoia and condemned as heretical by Pius VI. It claimed that Jesus Christ did not transmit his triple priestly, magisterial and pastoral power directly to the Apostles and their successors but to the Church as a whole, and that therefore it is within the communities that there emerge the charisms and ministries they need, and from them do ministers receive the power to exercise those charisms.

Based on this false postulate, starting in the 1960s people like Hans Küng and Leonardo Boff claimed that Eucharistic celebrations are presided over by a member chosen by the community itself. The Jesuits Joseph Moingt and Paul de Meester proposed a priesthood light, as a corollary of Baptism, that would be limited in time (rotating) and in space (destined to serve only one specific community), in parallel to the universal and permanent priesthood of those trained in the seminary, who would assume a supervisory role.

This heretical proposal (the First Council of Nicea had already established that the three degrees of the sacrament of the Holy Orders are deacon, priest and bishop, excluding any unheard-of intermediate situation between them) was raised again by Most Rev. Fritz Löbinger, a German bishop emeritus who governed the diocese of Aiwal, in South Africa, for 16 years. In two books published by Herder (Teams of Ordained Ministers: a Solution for the Eucharist in Communities, and The Empty Altar: An illustrated Book to Debate the Lack of Priests), the German prelate affirms that the current model of the priesthood is in crisis due to the lack of vocations, and that it is necessary to reflect on a complementary alternative to the currently celibate priests. One should imagine two forms of priests, the “community” and the “diocesan” (which correspond precisely to the prototypes imagined by Moingt and de Meester almost fifty years ago).

Questioned by Vida Nueva magazine about the origin of these reflections, Bishop Löbinger answered that he saw with his own eyes “how many communities without resident priests were eager to be able to exercise the ministries themselves, voluntarily doing that work.” And he asked himself: “If communities can exercise so many ministries, is it not our duty to entrust them with the ordained ministry?” And since he had seen, at the same time, that “priests had assumed a new role as trainers of local leaders,” he thought “that it is possible, in a realistic way and by consent, to ordain local leaders.” He recognizes that in many parishes they have never considered “the possibility that they themselves have to exercise the charisms they have received” and “they think that the entire ministry has to be exercised only by a full-time priest” sent by the bishop. But in other parishes “they have already developed this conviction: ‘We are the Church. The tasks of the Church are our own tasks.’”

Returning to the false idea which the Modernists launched at the beginning of the twentieth century, that the sacred ministries were not instituted by Jesus Christ but emerged from the needs of the early Christian communities, Bishop Löbinger explains that “the ordination of volunteer local leaders was the norm in the Church for some centuries” and that “it was evident that there were presbyters who were not sent to the community but who emerged from within it.” He concludes: “What was accepted once can be accepted again today.”

Going down into detail, the bishop emeritus of Aiwal explains that “the current form of the priesthood will remain as it is, and if a second form emerges with it, it can even benefit in such a way that the two types need and mutually reinforce each other.” On celibacy, he points out that “these local leaders are mature people, usually married, but our goal is for them to be people who come from the community.” He insists that the new “ordained ministers” not try to imitate the current form of the priesthood because otherwise those “voluntary priests – with a life similar to that of the rest of the faithful in terms of family, work, etc.– would be overburdened.” Furthermore, “the current priests would feel degraded because they would understand that the volunteer priests, without as much training and without the renunciation that celibacy implies, would be doing the same thing they did.”

To favor this differentiation it would be advisable that several community leaders be ordained simultaneously and form a team, assuming responsibilities as a whole and continuing to be like the rest of the inhabitants. In other words, the closest thing to a Protestant pastor, something which Bishop Löbinger admits by saying that it is “possible to combine two things: a secular profession and the priesthood” because “there are thousands of part-time presbyters in several Christian churches.”


On his return flight from the WYD in Panama, Pope Francis was questioned about the possibility of extending to the Latin Rite the practice of the Eastern Rites of allowing married men to become priests. He stated contradictorily that he does not agree to allowing optional celibacy, but that “there might only remain a few possibilities in the most remote places” where “there is a pastoral necessity,” because “there the pastor must think of the faithful.”

He added, as if he were one more theologian and not the supreme judge of the Catholic faith: “There is a book by [Bishop Fritz] Lobinger … it is interesting – this is a matter of discussion among theologians, there’s no decision on my part…. Returning to [Bishop] Löbinger he said, ‘The Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Church.’ But where there is no Eucharist, in the communities – you may think, Caroline [the Paris Match journalist who had asked the question], of the Pacific Islands… [Caroline: …in the Amazon, also…] maybe there… in many places…  Lobinger says: who makes the Eucharist? In those communities the ‘directors,’ let’s say, the organizers of those communities, are deacons or nuns or lay people, directly. And Lobinger says: one can ordain an elderly man, married – that is his thesis – one could ordain an elderly married man, but only so that he exercises the munus sanctificandi, that is, that he celebrates Mass, that he administers the sacrament of Reconciliation and performs the Anointing of the Sick. Priestly ordination gives the three muneraregendi – to govern, the pastor; docendi – to teach; and sanctificandi. This comes with ordination. The bishop would only give the faculties for the munus sanctificandi: this is the thesis. The book is interesting. Perhaps this can help in considering the problem. I believe that the problem must be opened in this sense, where there is a pastoral problem, because of the lack of priests. I’m not saying that it should be done, because I have not reflected, I have not prayed sufficiently about it. But the theologians must study [it]. An example is Father Lobinger…” [4]

In the first article of this series we showed that the salvific mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ was only one, although composed of three elements: priest, prophet and king, just as His triple power to sanctify, teach and govern was one. He left this mission and power as an inheritance to the Church, which must prolong His salvific mission until the end of time by transmitting them to the Apostles so they would transmit them to their successors by the laying on of hands of the sacrament of Holy Orders. In view of the foregoing, this threefold spiritual power to shepherd the flock is one and indivisible because of its relation to the unique mission of Christ, its origin from a single sacrament, and the uniqueness of its end: the salvation of men. Hence, to do what Bishop Löbinger proposes and Pope Francis deems as a valid hypothesis to be studied, that is, that the bishop grant only the munus sanctificandi when ordaining those “voluntary presbyters,” is a theological impossibility.

It could be argued that Löbinger and the Pope are not thinking of an “ordination light,” but of a traditional priestly ordination subject to a permanent limitation in the exercise of the powers of teaching and governing the flock. This too would be entirely unacceptable because a permanent limitation is conceivable only in specific and limited cases, lest one run the risk of distorting the notion of the ministerial priesthood that Christ instituted in the Church. This is all the more so as the Löbinger plan foresees only a minority of priests according to the traditional model (with power to exercise the three munera) and a large majority of community leaders ordained to exercise only the munus sanctificandi.

Despite this model’s frontal rupture with the traditional teaching of the Church regarding the sacrament of Holy Orders and the Catholic priesthood, the proposal has emerged in the Instrumentum laboris of the next Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. In paragraph 127, the document invites Synodal Fathers to “reconsider the notion that exercise of jurisdiction (power of government) must be linked in all areas (sacramental, judicial, administrative) and in a permanent way to the sacrament of Holy Orders.” The phrase immediately preceding it reinforces the idea of a second-class and transitory priesthood: native peoples retain “a rich tradition of social organization where authority is rotational and has a deep sense of service” and “the cultures of the Amazon that have a pronounced sense of community, equality and solidarity – and that is why clericalism is not accepted in all its guises.”[5]

Statements by other prelates very actively promoting the Synod for the Amazon confirm the suspicion that second-class priests will be introduced into the Church.

Mot Rev. Erwin Kläuter, Bishop-Prelate of Xingu, and (according to The Tablet magazine) main editor of the Instrumentum laboris,[6] declared to Vida Nueva: “Presiding over the celebration of the Eucharist should not be the prerogative of a celibate priest. Two types of sacred ministers, celibate and married, could complement and enrich each other and would be an immense gain for the Church. Many bishops think – and I am one of them – of establishing this other type of priest next to the traditional one. … I am much more in favor of the thesis held by a bishop of South Africa, of German origin, Bishop Fritz Lobinger, bishop emeritus of Aliwal, who suggested that the communities could propose a team (team of elders) of candidates to be ordained to preside over the Eucharist in their community and only in their community, without this implying abandoning their family or professional life.”[7]

According to the magazine Vida Nueva, after meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican in April 2014, Bishop Kräutler disclosed that the pontiff had referred to some “interesting theories,” such as the one by Bishop Löbinger, or to “the hundreds of married deacons who exercise their ministry in the indigenous communities of the Mexican diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in Chiapas.” “All they would need is priestly ordination so they can also preside over the Eucharistic celebration,” recalls Kräutler.[8]

His companion in the said interview with the pontiff, the German priest Paulo Suess, member of the team preparing the Synod and one of the drafters of the Preparatory Document sent to the communities, supported the proposal of a differentiated priesthood with the heretical argument that ministerial power supposedly emerges from the community: “We can imagine a group of viri probati that celebrates the Eucharist together. The Church calls them together and orders them to do in community what none of them can do alone. The link with the community and for the community, within a diocese and a parish, can make the Church a ‘community of communities.’”[9]

Three years later he stated, “In the early Church it was the elders who celebrated the Eucharist. To return to this ancient tradition, today referred to be the expression viri probati, will surely be a proposal of the Synod. It is a question of having the Church, which is the sacrament of life, collectively take this deficiency and heal it collectively: a group of viri probati could jointly celebrate the Eucharist.”[10]

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, president of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network and chosen by Pope Francis as Relator General of the next Synod, told Civiltà Cattolica: “Many times there is a concern for transplanting the models of European priests to possible indigenous priests. But someone rightly warned that there is too much concern and priority about the profile of the ordained minister rather than the community that should receive him. On the contrary, the community is not for his minister, but the minister is for his community. The minister must be adequate to the needs of the community. It is this need of the community that should move us to think, perhaps, of differentiated ministries because the community needs an adequate presence. We do not want to defend a kind of historical figure of how a minister should be, without possible variations … Yes, the ministers are sent, but we have to know how to send them in such a way as to respect the concrete community, which has its own specific needs. Ministries must also be thought of starting from the community, its culture, its history, its needs. All this means opening.”[11]

In turn, the indigenous Salesian priest Justino Rezende, one of the members of the pre-synodal council, asked: “Why hesitate to grant ministries in the Church to those who are its teachers in the communities?… It is necessary to overcome the prejudices of colonialism.”[12] In other statements, he added, “The Church has to grant ministries to the peoples of the Amazon without fears or distrust.”[13]

The offensive against the Catholic priesthood (and indirectly against the hierarchical sacramental character of the Church, founded on Holy Orders) goes beyond the invention of a downgraded presbyterate. On the pretext of inculturation, they are also seeking the ordination of women and the granting of an official ministry to healers.

The Instrumentum laboris makes several suggestions supposedly coming from the communities, which “recall aspects of the early Church when it responded to needs by creating appropriate ministries.” Among the “new ministries to respond more effectively to the needs of the peoples of the Amazon,” is, first of all, that of “promot[ing] vocations among indigenous men and women in order to respond to the need for pastoral and sacramental care. Their critical contribution is in the movement towards an authentic evangelization from the indigenous perspective, according to their habits and customs.” In the second place are the viri probati and, later, that of “identify[ing] the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women, taking into account the central role they play today in the Church in the Amazon.” That this official ministry is “ordained” is made clear by the fact that this proposal is separate from those listed in the “role of the laity” section, such as one that “women be guaranteed leadership opportunity…be consulted and participate in decision-making.”[14]


Mons. Erwin Krautler

If the Working Document is elusive, Archbishop Erwin Kräutler is emphatic in defending a female priesthood. In the above-cited interview with Vida Nueva, when asked about the viri probati, he replied, “I do not like the expression viri probati because it restricts a priori the priesthood to men.” In an interview with a Catholic newspaper of Salzburg in April 2016, asked about a female priesthood, he replied: “Absolutely nothing is impossible here,” and just as the declaration on religious freedom of the latest council would have been considered heretical in Vatican I, there can be an evolution also in this matter. “It would be a little harder,” he admits, because John Paul II “apparently wanted to close this door once and for all” with the document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. “But, he added, “this Apostolic Exhortation is not a dogma and does not even have the weight of an encyclical.”[15]

In turn, the aforementioned theologian Paulo Suess declared that St. Paul “never left a community without authorizing a member of that community to celebrate the Eucharist” and that “following the example of Jesus, at the time the chosen ones were generally men because it was a patriarchal culture.” But “in a matriarchal culture he certainly would have left women as ministers of the Eucharist.” That he is referring to the celebration and not to the distribution of the Eucharist becomes clear in the sentence immediately following: “Unfortunately, because of the unity of the Church, it will be difficult at this moment to discuss the priesthood of women,” but “in the perspective of certain gradualism of solutions, what could be discussed today would be the female diaconate.” In any case, in the Amazon, “in the absence of priests, women are those who move pastoral work forward today.”[16]

Respectful of the gradualness of the process towards a female priesthood, Bishop Neri Tondello, of Juína, and one of the representatives of Brazil in the pre-synodal Council, stated that “the woman needs to be recognized more strongly, and one must say openly that she can be a deaconess based on dialogue, on discussion.”[17]

Should any obstruction to the female diaconate arise, the neo-missionaries’ fertile imagination has already found other formulas. For example, the working document of the Fifth American Missionary Congress, held in Bolivia in July 2018, proposes “creating a new feminine lay ministry: the gynacolyte” (sic). Its paragraph 271 says, “Given the evangelizing needs of the present time in our Church, we could think of a specific ministry of women, in a way similar to the diaconate, but with a different name. Its identity as a singularly female ministry would include the character of disciples and followers [of the women who followed Jesus and] were the first evangelizers of the Risen One (cf. Lk 24:23). For all these reasons, they could be called ‘gynacolytes,’ from the Greek ‘gunh / gunaikoj’ (woman) and ‘akol ouqew’ (to follow). This would highlight their feminine character and imperturbable fidelity, following even unto death.”

The following paragraph describes the functions and ministerial attributions of the projected “ginacolyte,” which would include: “a. The proclamation and preaching of the Gospel in the Church and in the world, like the deacons. b. The ministry of consolation before the vast world of pain… c. Co-responsibility with the parish priest within the framework of the parish community, although as with deacons it is a responsibility subordinate to that of the parish priest… d. And they could celebrate the sacraments of Baptism and Marriage just like the current deacons.”[18]  In other words, it would be a diaconate without the label….

Even more serious are the proposals to give the Church a healer’s face under the pretext of inculturating the faith and recognizing the ancestral “charisms” and “ministries” existing in indigenous communities.

Sister Guaracema Tupinambá, born in the Amazon, is the provincial superior Sister Guaracema Tupinambáof the Sisters of Our Lady. Reflecting on the ministries, she affirms: “It makes no sense to carry out the ministries or reinterpret them, but rather to understand which are these ministries existing among those peoples and how we can share our ministries with them and welcome those that exist among them. From the standard ministry the Church has [she is referring here in a somewhat derogatory way to the ordained ministry: diaconate, priesthood, episcopate], I think it is very complicated to have a simple answer believing that we are going to find some paths immediately. It does not mean just ordering or forming people … When I go to an indigenous community that has a shaman, who has his ministers in different ways, I wonder what we have to take to our ministries, the ministries we learned with the Western Church. So I think there is a need for a very respectful exchange.” Questioned about missionary experiences of merely being present among the Indians without doing any evangelization work, the nun responds: “These people who can be considered as failures by a part of the Church, both lay and clerical, I believe that these are the great innovations of the presence of Jesus Christ in their midst…. I believe that this is another ministerial form but we would have to divest ourselves of what we have, closed in within the sacraments. To reflect on what is a sacrament, what is liturgical. All this is under discussion… I met Monsignor Aldo Mongiano, a bishop who lived in Roraima for many years, and he said that he never baptized an Indian.”[19]

In a previous article for this site, we made a summary of the proposals of the Verbite priest Karl Heinz Arenz, who worked between 1990 and 2003 forming pastoral agents in the dioceses of Óbidos and Santarém, in the Lower Amazon. He is currently professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the Federal University of Pará, Belém. His PhD thesis, under the direction of Fr. Paulo Suess, dealt with the healing rituals of the populations living on the margins of the Amazon River and was published under the title, “São e salvo : a pajelança da população ribeirinha do Baixo Amazonas como desafio para a evangelização  [“Safe and sound: the ‘pajelanza’ [healers] of the coastal population of the Low Amazon as a challenge for evangelization”].[20]

According to Fr. Arenz, “the term magic cannot be used only in a pejorative or discriminatory sense”[21] because magic “is based on the coherent and organized use of constant movements of nature for the good of the community,” performing a “social function” that has “a profound spiritual connotation”: its rituals “transcend the natural environment itself, situating it within a ‘horizon of mystery'”.[22]  Therefore, there is a convergence between healing and Christianity, since “Jesus gratuitously disposed gestures and magical signs [sic] common at that time, placing them at the service of the Kingdom, and thus employing a ‘good magic’ [double sic], a promoter of life and provider of meaning.”[23]

Therefore, says Father Arenz, the Church should “rescue the therapeutic core of the Gospel project”[24] and recognize the ministry of shamans as therapeutic agents. With only a small caveat: they must enjoy a lot of autonomy in their ministry: “As shamans they do not depend on the established structures and conventions to legitimize their gift, but only on the ‘mystical company’ of their ‘caruanas’ [spirits that roam about the jungle]. This fact makes them independent of any institution.”[25]

The idea seems to have been picked up in the pre-synodal preparation. In its section on the “Spirituality and Wisdom” of the Amazonian peoples, the Preparatory Document stresses that “Wise elders – called interchangeably “payés, mestres, wayanga or chamanes, among others – promote the harmony of people among themselves and with the cosmos[26] (sic). The Instrumentum Laboris goes even further by uncritically assuming the shamanic discourse on the supposed benefits of healing rituals:

Indigenous rituals and ceremonies are essential for integral health because they integrate the different cycles of human life and nature. They create harmony and balance between human beings and the cosmos [sic].They protect life from evils that can be caused by both human beings and other living beings [who? the ‘caruanas’?]. They help to cure diseases that harm the environment, human life and other living beings.”[27]

Still referring to healing rituals, in a veiled allusion to the pajés, the document states, “Health care of the inhabitants involves detailed knowledge of medicinal plants and other traditional elements that are part of healing processes [hallucinogens?]. To this end, indigenous peoples rely on people who, throughout their lives, specialize in observing nature and in listening to and collecting the knowledge of the elderly, especially women. … That is why the responses to the Preparatory Document emphasize the need to preserve and transmit the knowledge of traditional medicine.”[28]

In other words, according to the logic of the Synod’s promoters, the process of inculturation and recognition of the charisms that the Spirit has already distributed among the Amazonian communities should lead to an ecclesial recognition of the healers’ “therapeutic ministries.” Since these are leaders of their communities, it would be more appropriate to ordain them as “community presbyters” to preside over liturgical celebrations which should not be “locked up in [Western] sacraments” but rather follow ancestral rituals, as Sister Guaracema Tupinambá would say. The cult of Pachamama and other pagan deities would replace the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary…on the pretext of satisfying the Eucharistic hunger of remote populations through the ordination of viri probati!

The final term of the process of recognizing the “new ministries” would be an Amazonian church that apostatized from Christianity and assumed the face of a healer.

This is probably not what the Vatican II Council Fathers had in mind. They endorsed passing from an ecclesiology that emphasized the hierarchical character of the Church and distinction between ordained clergy and laity to an ecclesiology of the People of God that emphasizes the fundamental equality of all the baptized, in order to escape the hierarchy-laity binomial and favor the charism-community one. Nor did they have it in mind when they introduced for the first time, and emphatically, the word “ministry” in a magisterial document (the decree Ad Gentes), to refer without distinction to the sacred functions of the clergy and to the collaborative activities of the laity in those functions.

Nor was it what Paul VI had in mind when, with the motu proprio Ministeria Quedam, he suppressed the minor orders and established two new liturgical ministries open to laymen – those of lector and acolyte. Nor yet when he dedicated a long section of the apostolic constitution Evangelii Nuntiandi to “diversified ministries” of the laity, among which he nominally cites that of “heads of small communities.”

Then again it does not seem to be what the editors of the Code of Canon Law now in force had in mind when they legalized the concept of “established ministries,” and the laity’s aptitude to assume them, and when they allowed laymen to possess ecclesiastical offices.

“Raise crows and they will take your eyes out,” the Spanish saying goes. “Create talisman-words and, after successive semantic evolutions, they will make you a revolution,” we would say.

From Hans Küng and the “prophetic groups,” from Leonardo Boff and the ecclesiogenesis of the Basic Ecclesial Communities, from Cardinal Malula and his “bakambi,” from Bishop Samuel Ruiz and his “diaconate as a couple,” the semantic revolution of “ministries” has come to its final destination, which consists in diluting the priesthood into the “community presbyterate” dreamed of by Bishop Fritz Löbinger and applauded by Pope Francis. With this comes the consequent disappearance of the hierarchical distinction between clergy and laity, the successive equalization of men and women, their access to ordained ministries and, finally, the recognition of the “therapeutic ministry” of healers and witches.

At an allocution to the participants at a meeting organized by the Congregation for the Clergy, on the use of the word “ministry,” John Paul II prophetically warned that “There is an urgent pastoral need to clarify and purify terminology, because behind it there can lurk dangers far more treacherous than one may think. It is a short step from current language to conceptualization.”[29]

Given the very dynamics of revolutions, the final step from conceptualization to the realization of utopia is even shorter. Would it not be the case, to avoid the final leap into the abyss of self-demolition, to humbly recognize that a wrong path has been taken and to return to traditional ecclesiology, accentuating the essential distinction between the ordained priesthood and the common priesthood of the faithful and, in passing, energetically eliminating the term “lay ministries” from the Catholic vocabulary?

This is what prudence advises, inspired by the Ignatian rule of agere contra.

Dr. Guzmán CarriquiryWhat should be done to solve the problem of the lack of priests to assist Amazonian communities far from urban centers? The answer is found in the suggestions made by Dr. Guzmán Carriquiry, a former deputy secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and current secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America:

“One can follow at least four primary paths. The first is to give more dedication and prayer for priestly vocations in the Amazon, including indigenous priestly vocations…. Is there a racist prejudice to the effect that indigenous Amazonians are incapable of celibacy due to their culture? It was also said, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that Africans could not be priests because they lacked predisposition to celibacy; but in the context of the encyclical Maximum Illud, congregations such as the Spiritans [Congregation of the Holy Ghost under the Protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary] and the White Fathers made diocesan seminaries flourish in Africa, giving rise to the entire African episcopate and clergy, which continues to grow. Guatemala is the country with the largest indigenous population in Latin America, and in its most indigenous diocese, that of Sololá-Chimaltenango, the bishop affirms that most of the clergy are indigenous, as are practically all of its numerous seminarians….

“The second way is to send priests from the ecclesiastical regions of countries within Amazonian areas, which have many vocations and clergy, to cooperate as pastoral-missionaries in the Amazon. How is it possible that Latin American priests, especially from Colombia, abound in the United States, Canada, Spain and other European countries but it is difficult to send small groups of priests, periodically taking turns, to do pastoral work in Amazonian districts?

“The third possibility is to make a new call to the whole Catholic world to make available ‘fidei donum’ priests for the Amazon, thus promoting and encouraging the apostolic ‘ad gentes’ request of the local Churches.

“The fourth possible way is to entrust apostolic prefectures in the Amazonian regions to…new communities or ecclesial movements so they send groups of priests accompanied by families to these regions. [The author suggests the Neocatechumenal Way; I rather think of priests and nuns of the Incarnate Word, who are already Latin American]. And let’s not forget that the Church in Korea was established and strongly developed for more than a century without priests, but with excellent catechists, and that it survived in Japan for 200 years without the presence of priests.”[30]

This proves once again – if it were at all necessary – that the argument of the deprivation of the Eucharist in remote communities is a mere pretext (of people with little faith and worldly criteria) to subvert the priesthood and the hierarchical character of the Church in the name of the revolutionary dogma of total equality.


[2] Ibid.

[3] Osservatore Romano, March 11, 1998,






[9] Ibid.





[14] N° 129.

[15] Maike Hickson, “Bishop Emeritus Erwin Kraeutler Undermines Celibacy”, The Wanderer, 22-4-2016,

[16] Formation blog of the Franciscan youth of Brazil,




[20] Available for download in Portuguese @

[21] P. 210.

[22] P. 135.

[23] P. 211.

[24] P. 19.

[25] P. 260.

[26] N° 6.

[27] N° 87.

[28] N° 88.


[30] “Observaciones y aportes sobre el Sínodo de la Amazonía,”

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