The following comes from a September 21 Chiesa article by Sandro Magister:
Pope Francis received in audience a few days ago the Brazilian cardinal Cláudio Hummes, accompanied by the archbishop of Natal, Jaime Vieira Rocha.
Hummes, 82, former archbishop of São Paulo and prefect of the Vatican congregation for the clergy, is today the president both of the commission for the Amazon of the episcopal conference of Brazil and of the Pan-Amazonian Network that joins together 25 cardinals and bishops of the surrounding countryside, in addition to indigenous representatives of different local ethnicities.
And in this capacity he supports, among others, the proposal to make up for the scarcity of celibate priests in immense areas like the Amazon by also conferring sacred ordination upon “viri probati,” meaning men of proven virtue, married.
The news of the audience therefore gave the idea that Pope Francis had discussed this very question with Hummes, and in particular an “ad hoc” synod of the 38 dioceses of the Amazon, which is effectively in an advanced phase of preparation.
Not only that. There is renewed vigor behind the rumor that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wants to assign to the next worldwide synod of bishops, scheduled for 2018, precisely the question of ordained ministers, bishops, priests, deacons, including the ordination of married men.
The main argument brought forth in support of the ordination of married men is “the growing difficulty for a bishop of providing for the care of souls in his territory with a sufficient number of ministers of the Gospel and of the Eucharist”
It must be said, however, that such a situation is by no means exclusive to the present day. It has characterized the life of the Church in various centuries and in the most diverse areas.
The scarcity of priests has not always led to harm for the “care of souls.” On the contrary, in some cases it has even coincided with a blossoming of Christian life. Without anyone getting the idea to ordain married men.