Vienna Cardinal Schönborn told Avvenire.it (February 12) that Footnote 132 of Querida Amazonia “addresses a big problem.”
It says that in some Amazon countries, more missionaries go to Europe or the U.S. than remain in their Amazon Vicariates.
From Colombia alone, more than 1200 priests went abroad, Schönborn knows, “If only a third or a quarter of these priests were available for the Amazon dioceses, there would hardly be a shortage of priests there.”
He mentions a lack of local seminarians (footnote 133) and permanent deacons asking why after 500 years of Christianity “there are practically no local clergy in this region.”
The answer: 60% to 80% of the locals turned to Protestant groups because the Pentecostals speak about Jesus Christ – and the Catholics don’t.
Therefore, for Schönborn multiplying clergy by abolishing celibacy would be “a too limited objective.”