This story caught my eye over at Catholic News Agency’s website — and my first question was, “Why not deacons?”
The answer: according to this account, the archdiocese in question has only two.
The Archbishop of Lima last month presented his proposal to replace priests with lay people in parishes in the Peruvian capital.
Archbishop Carlos Gustavo Castillo Mattasoglio said during a July 21 conference that he is asking the Vatican for permission for lay persons to be given the administration of parishes.
The archbishop said that “there is a philosophy of the simple daily life of the people that we have to take up again.”
“I think that, as a Church, we are going to have to work hard to provide a Church closer to the people with greater equality,” he continued.
Archbishop Castillo then said, “This is what I’m trying to do right now, I went to Rome, I was there a long time, a month. I am encouraging them to give me permission for various things that are not allowed, right? ”
“For example, for them to give me permission for families, or couples, or groups of married couples or older lay adults to take over parishes because it’s better to send priests to study a little, right?”
The Archbishop of Lima proposed “that the laity act as pastors or heads of churches, keeping the communities up and running as they do when they [the priests] go to Europe.”
“In Europe there are many things in churches in Paris, for example, that lay people have gotten up and running, and they keep the Christian community going without the need for priests.”
“Then there’s a priest who celebrates Mass for them once a week or twice on Sunday, whatever it may be; but we have to think of more egalitarian ways, closer to the people,” he said.
Moments later, Archbishop Castillo said that this is what “synodality” refers to and that “we did that in the consultation we made in the synodal assembly” of the Archdiocese of Lima.
Continue reading to learn why this is not feasible right now — among other things, canon law doesn’t permit it.