10/14/2019, 08.49
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Amazon Synod: Do not reduce the priest to being a dispenser of sacraments

"Nearly six million indigenous people have left simply to survive. Not to mention those that were massacred for land exploitation or mining activities. In the Amazon there are 35 multinationals operating without any control or authorization ".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The problems linked to the scarcity of priests continue to be present in the work of the Synod for the Amazon: in fact, people continue to talk about the ordination of married men, and while someone also ask for the female diaconate, there is also major emphasis on the need for ongoing formation.

Another heated issues is the denunciation of violence against people and nature, accompanied by the request for interventions by the Church and the international community.

On the question of ministries in the Church, discussions remain focused on the scarcity of priests. In this regard, the summary published by the Italian program on Vatican Radio has argued that “Under the action of the Spirit, cum Petrus and sub Petrus, the Church is therefore encouraged to convert to an Amazonian perspective, not to fear reflection and discernment on the question of the priesthood, being open to listening to the hypothesis of ordaining married people, without ever watering down the value of celibacy. We need to keep in mind the drama of the populations that cannot celebrate the Eucharist due to the lack of priests or who receive the Body of Christ only once or twice a year. One suggestion called for reflection on Paul VI’s Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam (on lay ministries, ed) and whether this may need updating. The introduction of indigenous permanent deacons  male and female was also proposed, who through the ministry of the Word help the local people to understand the Sacred Texts better".

At the daily briefing, today Msgr. Carlo Verzeletti, bishop of Castanhal, in Brazil said that "we cannot reduce the priest to a dispenser of sacraments a few times a year", given that "priests must run from one side to the other, and can meet the communities a maximum 4-5 times a year. They do not have the time to follow the life of the people, to be among the people, to offer a true pastoral care ".

Thus he supported , "the ordination of married men for the priestly ministry, so that the Eucharist is a reality close to our communities and people can be accompanied". "When I talk about priestly ordination of married men - he added - I don't think of second-class priests, but of prepared people who have an exemplary life".

Today the participants also heard about the challenges presented by a significant decrease in religious communities, and the need for religious congregations to recover missionary enthusiasm. At the same time, ongoing formation and catechumenate should be offered that are based not only on academic study but also on the ground  experience in direct contact with local culture.

Msgr. José Ángel Divassón Cilveti, former apostolic vicar of Puerto Ayacucho and titular bishop of Bamaccora made an impassioned denunciation of the tragedy that the peoples of the region are experiencing. S

peaking at the briefing, he said that in the Pan-Amazonian region "nearly six million indigenous people have left simply in order to survive. Not to mention those that were massacred for land exploitation or mining activities. In the Amazon there are 35 multinationals that work without control and without authorization ".

Hence the importance of seeking "common paths", as the Synod wants to do, in a perspective of "intercultural dialogue". As the one woven by the Salesians with the indigenous people of the Yanomans, the bishop said: "We shared the life of the communities, without pretending to tell them what to do: not as colonialists, but with respect and in the knowledge that they must hold the reins of their own destiny ”.

And José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal, president of the Congress of Amazonian indigenous organizations, added: "we are the martyrs of the Amazon". "We are the people called to seek alliances to protect our lives. What is happening now in Ecuador can be applied to the entire Amazon basin ". "We hope that what happens in Ecuador will encourage our Venezuelan brothers", he continued: "It seems that the world is fleeing from some borders to go to other frontiers. There are so many challenges that we indigenous peoples must face in the Amazon, we must seek alliances: this is why we are here at the Synod ”.

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