|Bishop Ruiz With Zapatista Guerrillas in 1996|
(Rome) From the 12th to the 20th of February, Pope Francis will visit Mexico. While numerous media have identified the focus of his pastoral visit as the migration issue, the Vatican expert Sandro Magister has referred to the visit to the southern Mexican diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas. There, from 1959-2000 the reigning diocesan Bishop Samuel Ruiz tried stealthily doing away with priestly celibacy. Instead of celibate priests, he only consecrated married deacons. It's a form of the diaconate that was allowed by the Second Vatican Council to address the shortage of priests, but has also been criticized as a first step to lift the priest celibacy. At the end of Ruiz Garcia's tenure, the priesthood of his diocese had overaged and with each priest there were four married deacons.
In addition to his practice, the bishop complained of a pressing shortage of priests and prepared the next step for the ordination of married deacons to the priesthood. Bishop Ruiz Garcia was also the showpiece of a church that had good contacts wth the extreme left, giving him international attention in certain circles. With the retirement of Ruiz Garcia the Vatican pulled emergency brake and forbade the consecration of other viri probati, the blessing of their women and the use of the term "indigenous deacons".