Given the issue of ordaining married men, viri probati, was a point of considerable discussion at the synod and a draft of the exhortation called for it, some were expecting the post syndonal exhortation from Pope Francis would address a married priesthood.
Many were surprised when it didn’t however, and Pope Francis hasn’t spoken again on the issue until some of his notes on the synod were published by the Catholic periodical La Civiltà Cattolica yesterday.
Pope Francis said the synod of bishops should be a “spiritual exercise” and period of discernment on the will of God.
“Walking together means dedicating time to honest listening, capable of making us reveal and unmask (or at least to be sincere) the apparent purity of our positions and to help us discern the wheat that – up to the Parousia – always grows among the weeds. Whoever has not realized this evangelical vision of reality exposes themselves to useless bitterness. Sincere and prayerful listening shows us the ‘hidden agendas’ called to conversion.”
Addressing the fact his exhortation didn’t address married clergy, he said “there was a discussion, a rich discussion – a well-founded discussion” but despite that, he said there was “no discernment.”
Pope Francis said discernment was “something different than just arriving at a good and justified consensus or at a relative majority” and to properly implement his vision in Querida Amazonia, more discernment was needed.
“We must understand that the synod is more than a parliament; and in this specific case it could not escape that parliamentary dynamic. On this issue it was a rich, productive and even necessary parliament; but no more than that. To me, this was decisive in the final discernment, when I thought about how to do the exhortation. One of the riches and originality of the synodal pedagogy lies precisely in going out of a parliamentary logic to learn to listen, in community, to what the Spirit says to the Church; for this reason I always propose to remain silent after a certain number of interventions.”
He ended his notes on a prophetic note: “”What sense would the synodal assembly have if it were not for listening together to what the Spirit says to the Church?”