More than two years ago, I wrote a post about Pope Francis considering allowing married priests to serve in the Catholic Church as a means to combat the dwindling number of clergymen.
Now, there is a new development in this story.
On Saturday, bishops from across the Amazon recommended that married deacons should be allowed to become priests. While the church is suffering worldwide from a lack of priests, the Amazon region is one of the areas in particular trouble.
The proposal still needs to be approved by Pope Francis, and he is expected to decide on it before the end of this year.
Evangelicalism is on the rise throughout South America. Brazil was once more than 90 percent Catholic, but over the last few decades the number has steadily declined. Protestants and non-religious have both grown as Catholicism has declined.
Viri probati, which is Latin for "proven men," is the Canon Law that is being debated here. While not currently active, the law allows for deacons, priests, and bishops to be married. Strangely, they need to have been married before being ordained. Apparently God is cool with married priests as long as they get married before donning their cassock.
The First Epistle of Clement, supposedly written by Clement of Rome in the late first century to the congregation at Corinth, is the first Christian document to use the phrase "viri probati." Interestingly, Clement's use of the phrase is in a context unrelated to the church's current usage, but hey, details...
I really find this whole thing entertaining. I mean, how much more proof do you need of the man-made nature of all this? The church creates its own rules, like enforcing celibacy upon clergy, then it creates loopholes and exceptions for those rules as soon as they become inconvenient.
The all-knowing God these folks worship seems to have chosen representatives that make him look like a doofus.