The 2019 Synod of Bishops has just begun in Rome, and the focus this year is on the needs of the faithful in the Pan-Amazon Region. Dr. Matthew Bunson, Catholic author, professor, and regular contributor to Relevant Radio®, joined Morning Air® to discuss the first hours of the Synod.
Before a synod, a great deal of preparation takes place to determine what needs must be addressed. From the Pre-Synodal documents, a point of major concern leading up to the Synod was the idea of ordaining married men to minister in remote regions of the Amazon.
“We know that the suggestion for the so-called viri provati or the ordination of tested men, of older, married men to try to make up for or solve what is deemed a pastoral crisis—that did appear in some of the questionnaires. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is going to have any traction in the Synod as an idea,” explained Bunson.
In documents from the first day of the Synod, the Holy See Press Office indicated that solutions to ensure sacraments in the Amazon were discussed. “A number of those who spoke about it argued that it should not affect substantial rethinking of the nature of the priesthood and its relationship with celibacy. … They are recommending vocational pastoral care to increase vocations, which we know is the most long-term and best solution to the problem,” said Bunson.
The Synod is named, “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”. What exactly is an ‘Integral Ecology’? It’s a term that was used by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and also by Pope Francis in his encyclical, Laudato Si.
“It’s this idea that everything really is connected. Everything in creation is connected to everything else, in the sense that man, as a creature, exists in the world and has responsibilities and obligations as a steward of the world, which we find in Genesis,” said Bunson. “The dignity of the human person has to be looked at also within the context of the environment, and that means that we have to do what we can to preserve and be proper stewards of the environment.”
The faithful of the Church should continue to pray for the Synod fathers to make prudent judgments and be led by the Holy Spirit in their discussions.
Check back for more coverage of the 2019 Synod of Bishops throughout the month across the Relevant Radio network.
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