Concerning the upcoming Synod, Germans and Tapirs

I try try try to give these Synod (“walking together”) guys the benefit of the doubt, but does anyone sincerely believe that talking about married clergy is really about shortage of priests in a mission country?  Really?

I can’t say that I do.

I suspect what it’s really going to be is a way for weird German theologians and bishops, using their huge economic clout in mission fields, to ram through married clergy so that they can then migrate the same back into Germany.

Thus, at the Synod, the Germans are sticking their South America Tapir’s nose under the tent.

I want to be wrong about this.

That said, I was sent a link to a site that makes an interesting point.  At the site Unam Sanctam I read:

The ostensible reason the ordination of married “elders” is being discussed for the Amazon is because of a critical priest shortage in the region.

Let us set aside for a moment the fact that the ideologue of the Amazon Synod, Bishop Fritz Lobinger, has stated that the priest shortage is not the real reason for the proposal to ordain married men; let us look at the historical background of “priest shortages” in general.

The Amazon is more or less a missionary region. I do not deny there is a priest shortage there. But there have always been priest shortages in mission areas. How is this a new problem? Mission territories generally don’t have the population density or Catholic base to produce a sufficient level of indigenous priests. This is why evangelical efforts in mission countries have typically been spearheaded by foreign priests supported by subscriptions or donations from the faithful in more thoroughly Christianized areas. This is just common sense.


There’s more but that’s the essential part.

There have always been a shortage in mission countries.   The shortage stops when it isn’t a mission country anymore.  Right?

Wouldn’t a strong sign that a country isn’t a mission territory anymore be that produce locally an adequate number of priests for replacement and growth?

These USA, by the way, are a mission country.

Germany is a mission country for sure.  So, if the Amazon, which is a mission country, then why not Germany and these USA?


I need to revive that old project I thought up the last time this topic boiled to the surface.  I think it was called “P-Harmony”, a dating service for priests to meet prospective wives.  Because, as you know, priests… gosh… what a catch we are.  Don’t line up all at once, ladies.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pò sì jiù, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Synod, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Amerikaner says:

    1. If there are no vocations there, then fix the vocations problem and don’t introduce ordination for married men. Shore up the liturgy and the faith and the vocations will come.
    2. Because #1 is logical, I think there is more to all this than married clergy. I think they are two steps beyond what we think. If married men are allowed to be ordained and the push continues to regularize homosexuality, then the next step is gay “married” clergy. I think THAT is the end goal of all this.

  2. Lurker 59 says:

    1.) I have never met nor read online any Catholic married man opining that they would immediately enter seminary if the Church allowed for married priests in the Roman Rite.

    2.) When we are breaking down the argument for married priests, the ecclesiology in Protestantism that allows for married ministers is dissimilar from the ecclesiology in Orthodoxy that allows for married priests, and both seem to me to be dissimilar from the arguments that Catholic supporters of married priests are making. This leads me to believe that the end game is not married priests but rather shifting the ecclesiology of the Church.

    When I read things such as the Amazon Synod working document, what is immediately striking is the hatred and disdain for the very nature of the authors’ own ministry. The oppressive desire to change and flee from the ecclesiology of the Church strikes me with a vision that the authors’, and their clerical supporters’, own ordination is somehow experienced by them as fire burning them.

  3. Philmont237 says:

    I think such a proposal would actually blowup in the modernists’ faces. What they don’t know is that many married men would would consider priesthood are like myself: a traditional, orthodox man who would wear a cassock everywhere, only pray in Latin and ad orientem (if we did a NO at all), and preach against all of the other sacred cows of modernism. Seriously, every married man that I know who would consider being a married priest is exactly like that!

  4. ArthurH says:

    Two comments– both brief:

    1) It MAY be the practice to have married priests in some Eastern rites and other special exceptions, but as a married man who once thought of becoming a priest (we were all encouraged to consider that in HS) I cannot IMAGINE the same level of devotion to one’s flock occurring in a married man who has a family to provide for, children to nurture, etc, as in an unmarried man with one focus. That’s personal opinion.

    2) This one is NOT personal opinion. In a Vatican Course I subscribed to a decade plus ago (related to Missions) they were decrying the loss of priests for them both in number and, to some extent, in zeal. One of the duh-factors they came up with—how could they not?– was this, in effect: Why would someone go to THAT extreme with one’s life to save souls if…. one believed (as probably more than half the priests I know here do) that EVERYONE is saved. God is SO good, they say, that…. etc. Granted, one surely will profit in THIS life if he knows and follows “the Way”, but as to his eternal life? No problem, whether he is unsubscribed… or, for that matter, even if subscribed and living otherwise, dare I say it, in sin.

  5. mburn16 says:

    “I have never met nor read online any Catholic married man opining that they would immediately enter seminary if the Church allowed for married priests in the Roman Rite.”

    Perhaps that is true. But perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps you should ask “how many more young Catholic men would give strong consideration to the Priesthood (and how many parents might be more willing to point their sons toward the Priesthood), if it did not preclude marriage and a family? You may believe that number to be high or low, but I think that is the more relevant question to ask than “how many 30/40 something would go out and enroll in the seminary tomorrow?”

    I don’t come down particularly strongly on the married Priests issue one way or the other – there are valid points on both sides, and while I probably fall slightly more toward “let Priests marry”, I’m also willing to say that certain things within the Church right now lead me to think it might be better to wait until orthodoxy has been shored up a bit. I do believe it would help alleviate the vocation crisis, and even if there weren’t a vocation crisis, I’m not sure its all that great to tell young men they must choose either/or between two very holy things. Presumably those most inclined toward the Priesthood are among the most devout among us. Are those the ones we want to cut off from raising families of their own?

  6. Unwilling says:

    “Don’t line up all at once…ladies“.
    Or if we come to accept blessings of homosexual unions…?

  7. carndt says:

    After just finishing the book on Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM is truly amazing. After his ordeal during WWII he dedicates himself to be a missionary in Japan.

    Book title,” The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann,OFM

    This whole Smazon Synod is a rouse.

  8. Greg Hlatky says:

    Once in his shop a workman wrought
    With languid hand, and listless thought,
    When through the open window’s space
    Behold! – a Camel thrust his face.

    “My nose is cold,” he meekly cried,
    “Oh, let me warm it by thy side.”
    Since no denial word was said,
    In came the nose,- in came the head,

    As sure as sermon follows text
    The long, excursive neck came next,
    And then, as falls the threatening storm
    In leap’d the whole ungainly form.

    Aghast the owner gazed around,
    And on the rude invader frown’d,
    Convinc’d as closer still he prest,
    There was no room for such a guest,

    Yet more astonish’d, heard him say,
    “If incommoded, go your way,
    For in this place I choose to stay.”
    Oh, youthful hearts, to gladness born,
    Treat not this Arab lore with scorn.

    To evil habit’s earliest wile
    Lend neither ear, nor glance, nor smile,
    Choke the dark fountain ere it flows,
    Nor e’en admit the Camel’s Nose.

    – Mrs. L.H. Sigourney (1860)

  9. Benedict Joseph says:

    As you said, Father Z, regarding another issue today, “… remember that God cannot be deceived when it comes to motives.” I’m afraid this piece of wisdom is ignored, forgotten or held to be irrelevant in the post-conciliar Church and most flagrantly so today. I’ve termed it “ecclesiology of the wink and the nod” and it has been virulent for six decades. It bespeaks of an absence not only of faith — but of belief in God and respect for human persons — and it renders religious practice theater. It is the most apparent and compelling symptom of the present situation in the Church. It is an affront to both God and man.
    This is where the episcopate and the theological academy not only lose credence but effectively trash it. Today we are at critical mass. It is long past time for critical individuals to wake up for the welfare of their own souls and those of the faithful who are repelled by pandering, half truths and bold lies.
    The Pan-Amazonian Synod is aptly named indeed.

  10. Kerry says:

    carndt, you might like ‘The First Heroes’, about the Doolittle raiders. Jacob DeShazer survived Japanese captivity, and returned to Japan as a missionary as well. IIRC, he may have been the man who converted Mitsuo Fuchida. Fuchida led the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  11. Just Some Guy says:

    I’m glad that Rome is employing representatives from the Madison, Omaha, Charlotte, and Guadalajara Jalisco to discuss how to boost vocations in a particular area…

    Oh wait, nevermind, they’re just going to skip all of that, consult radical ideologues, and go straight for a change in the celibacy rule.

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    The bright lights looking to eradicate celibacy in the Latin Rite might make themselves aware of the dearth of “vocations” among men to the Protestant ministry. We aren’t the only ones with a “vocation problem.” More broadly, we have a faith problem. What is anyone doing about that but vaporizing the perennial Magisterium. That already having been accomplished centuries ago among our separated brothers and sisters, they are presently required to fill their ministerial vacancies with not faithful women, but “feminist” women of a neo-pagan bent.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    The Instrumentum Laboris in English:

    A few quotes:

    “In the Amazon, life is inserted into, linked with and integrated into territory…In the Amazon the “caresses of God” become manifest…(cf. Laudato Si 84).

    “…the brother tree, the sister flower, the sisters birds, the brothers fish, and even the smallest sisters like ants, larvae, fungi, and insects (cf. Laudato Si 233) allows the Amazonian communities to discover how everything is connected…”

    “The original peoples of the Amazon have much to teach us…The new paths of evangelization must be built in dialogue with the ancestral wisdom…”

    “Jesus was a person of dialogue and encounter.”

    “The aggression towards this vital zone of Mother Earth…”

    “A cosmic dimension of experience palpitates within the families.”

    “A Church with an Amazonian face…”

    “…fearlessly embrace the diverse cultural expressions of the peoples.”

    “Shaping a Church with an Amazonian face includes an ecclesial, social, ecological, and pastoral dimension…”

    “Cultural diversity calls for a more robust incarnation…”

    “The Church has come a long way, but deepening and updating are needed for it to be a Church with an indigenous and Amazonian face.”

    “Listening to the voice of the Spirit in the cry of the Amazon peoples and in the magisterium of Pope Francis requires a process of pastoral and missionary conversion…”

    “The Creator Spirit who fills the Universe is the one who has nurtured the spirituality of these peoples for centuries, even before the proclamation of the Gospel…”

    “It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught these peoples throughout the centuries: faith in the God Father-Mother Creator…”

    “…adapt the Eucharistic ritual to their cultures.”

    “Promote a specific pastoral ministry for the indigenous people who live in cities, with them participating as protagonists.”

    “Sensitize the community about social struggles…promote ecological citizenship…”

    “Update the option for young people…protagonists.”

    “Presence of pastoral agents in the mass media.”


    64 pages of that.

    Then there’s this:

    Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

    Matthew 28:16-20

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If young devout married laymen with families are too busy to help run parish guilds or serve in parish committees, how are they going to going to have time to be priests, too? Our society already has a problem with people being spread too thin, and with priests struggling to get all their duties done. So we are going to make priests more scattered, as an institution?

    Also, the Amazon basin is increasingly recognized as not being a “natural” environment. It was not “preserved” by native people. Rather, it was a place where humans spent thousands of years manipulating the land, farming the plants, and herding the animals, albeit in some ways difficult for westerners to recognize. (Other ways were not subtle or ecological at all.)

    Various epidemics killed enough of the people to make the agricultural projects and trade routes collapse, before Europeans ever got into the jungle to see what was going on. The Amazon is thus a sort of post-societal collapse world (although some parts of colonization didn’t help), and that is why it is so messed up. Things are finally getting better now, which is again what you would expect.

    Amazonian tribes are incredibly different in languages and beliefs because of the breaking of the trade routes, the vast expanse, etc. So why is the working document painting some pan-Amazonian ideal that never existed? And while I am sure there are some good things in the original native beliefs, the one idea that was widespread for centuries is the worship of a (usually) nasty jaguar god/demon, and the hunting of heads in order to magically bind their dead owners to your service. Nope, do not need that. The working document should mention the healthy Catholic popular devotions, the beloved missionary saints like St. Francis Solano, and so on, as a model for “listening” to the various Amazon peoples.

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Forgot to say that the working document did mention the Amazon’s “saints and martyrs;” but the footnote explained this with a roll call of recent modern Catholics who have never even been beatified, while totally ignoring everyone else ever.

    Bleh bleh bleh.

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