Cardinal George Pell has written a letter thanking supporters for their prayers and saying he is “disturbed” by the preparations for the forthcoming synod on the Amazon.
The text of the two-page, handwritten letter – images of which were shared with CNA and confirmed by sources close to Pell – has been circulated amongst a group of Pell’s closest supporters in Australia.
In the letter, dated from Melbourne Assessment Prison on August 1, the cardinal also says that he has been sustained in his incarceration by his faith and by the prayers of the faithful, and that he is offering his suffering in prison for the good of the Church.
“The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction,” Pell writes in the letter. “Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.”
Pell goes on to say that “we have reason to be disturbed by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazonian Synod,” which was published in June ahead of the October meeting.
That document, which has been the source of considerable discussion and commentary, included discussion on the subject of ordaining so-called viri probati, or “proven men” who are married, to answer a shortage of priestly vocations.
The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”
“This is not the first low-quality document the Synod secretariat has produced,” Pell writes.
The cardinal, apparently in reference to the considerable debate and criticism sparked by the synod’s proposed agenda – which has also included some calls for changes to the matter used to celebrate the Mass – also notes that “Cardinal G. Müller, formerly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written an excellent critique.”
“I am no expert on the region,” Pell says, though noting he has travelled to parts of the region, but cautions that “as in the Amazon, a lot of water has yet to run before the Synod.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency