From Our Rome Correspondent
THE priesthood, and celi bacy. will be discussed at the next International Synod of Bishops, meeting in Rome next year.
A Vatican communique this week said Pope Paul himself had suggested the priesthood for the Synod agenda. The Synod Council, it added, at the request of several Bishops' Conferences, had put forward other topics (unnamed) now being considered by the Pope.
The forthcoming Synod, Vatican sources said, might approve the admission of married men to the priesthood under very special circumstances.
Pope Paul. while reaffirming his views on celibacy, has said that he might, after consulting his bishops, permit mature married men of impeccable reputation to be ordained in areas where there is an acute shortage of clergy.
Eat tier this month, the International Theological Commission published a document supporting this view and the Synod is now expected to approve it. But the Synod will undoubtedly stand firm on the general rule regarding priestly celibacy, despite mounting demands that this be made optional instead of obligatory. In a speech to the Synod Council on Wednesday of last week Pope Paul said he hoped the examination of the questions to be submitted to the next Synod would be inspired by the dual aim of "building the Church and wisely inter preting today's spiritual needs."
He would do his best to back the Council's proposals, the Pope added, "with the sincere hope of encouraging the best possible result, to the glory of God, for the good of the Holy Catholic Church and the comfort of those who, within the Church, have the grave task of guiding and serving her."