Given Pope Francis’ willingness to confront major issues, and his faith in synodality, and given the fact that over half of the world’s parishes lack a resident parish priest, might the next Vatican synod consider proposals to ordain married men who have shown ability to lead parishes in the absence of a resident priest?
Austen Ivereigh writes in CRUX:
“A solution has been kicked around the yard for many years by Fritz Lobinger, a retired German bishop who lives in Durban, South Africa.
“During 50 years in South Africa, and traveling to many parts of the world, he observed how many Christian communities in remote areas are led in practice by small groups of committed, mature lay people.
“His solution is to ordain them after a brief training, so that they can administer the sacraments within that community alone.
“These ‘locally ordained ministers’ – Lobinger says it is important not to call them priests, even though it would involve precisely the same sacrament of priestly ordination – would be, in effect, a parallel priesthood, complementary to the existing norm in the Latin rite of a celibate, seminary-trained priest sent by his bishop to different parishes or missions.”
Click here to read Austen Ivereigh’s complete article in CRUX.
(N.B.: – What Ivereigh doesn’t cover in this article is the likelihood that any proposal to ordain married men will almost certainly provoke a new round of controversy over confining ordination to just half of the church.)