06/17/2019, 15.52
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​Amazon Synod: a Church in dialogue and listening to a culture of coexistence

The Instrumentum laboris unveiled.  The possibility of ordaining married men.  Integral ecology and recognition of the role of women.  Defense of territory and human rights.


distorted Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A Church tailored to the Amazon - exploited, disfigured and violated by capitalism, a Church which respects the culture of coexistence with and in Creation and which is therefore capable of breathing new life into its evangelizing mission.  This is the Synod on the Amazon that emerges from the preparatory document, the Instrumentum laboris, presented today in the Vatican.

A Church fit for the "green continent", to the point of opening to the ordination of married men.  Point 129 reads: "Stating that celibacy is a gift for the Church, we ask that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination of elders, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community, should be studied, even though they may have an established and stable family, in order to ensure the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life ".

The theme of the Synod "Amazonia, new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology" is tackled by examining first of all the reality of a territory of 7.8 million square kilometers in which there is the largest equatorial forest in the world.  A territory that marks the life and cultures of thousands of indigenous communities, peasants, Afro-descendants, populations that live on the banks of rivers and cities.

The territory and populations are threatened by destruction and environmental exploitation, by the systematic violation of the fundamental human rights of the aboriginal peoples, such as the right to the territory, to self-determination, to the delimitation of territories, to consultation and prior consent.  Threats that are the result of economic and political interests of the dominant sectors of today's society, in particular of mining companies.  Furthermore, climate change and deforestation caused by man are leading the Amazon to a point of no return.

In the second part, the document deals with the "integral ecology" of the Amazon, wounded by violence and corruption that reult in these peoples having to leave their homes, often falling victim to drug trafficking and trafficking in human beings, labor exploitation and child prostitution.

The local populations, however, have much to teach, in particular for their relationship to the natural world that constitutes care of their land, water and forest.  The new paths of evangelization must be built in dialogue with these ancestral wisdoms in which seeds of the Word manifest themselves.

And "the Church must incarnate in the Amazonian cultures that possess a high sense of community, equality and solidarity, for which clericalism is not accepted in its various forms of manifestation".

"The peoples of Amazonia, especially the poor and the culturally different, are the main interlocutors and protagonists of this dialogue.  They confront us with the memory of the past and the wounds caused during long periods of colonization.  For this reason Pope Francis asks "humbly forgiveness, not only for the offenses of his own Church, but for the crimes against indigenous peoples during the so-called conquest of the Americas".  "In this past the Church has sometimes been complicit with the colonizers and this has stifled the prophetic voice of the Gospel".

The fact that in Amazonia the distances are very large also hampers the life of the Church.  "The geographical distances also manifest cultural and pastoral distances which, therefore, require the passage from a" pastoral visit "to a" pastoral presence ", to reconfigure the local Church in all its expressions: ministries, liturgy, sacraments, theology  and social services ".  Hence the need to create "appropriate ministries", that is "new ministries to respond effectively to the needs of the Amazon peoples".  "These are natives who preach to the natives with a deep knowledge of their culture and their language, capable of communicating the message of the Gospel with the strength and effectiveness of those who have their cultural background".  Such a logic, even the ordination of married elders.  And also "identifying the type of official ministry that can be given to women, taking into account the central role they play today in the Amazon Church".  "In the ecclesial field, the presence of women in communities is not always valued", while it is necessary "to guarantee women their leadership, as well as ever wider and more relevant spaces in the field of education: theology, catechesis, liturgy and schools of faith and  policy".

Being a Church in the Amazon finally requires taking sides in the defense of the territory and human rights.  "As a worldwide community of solidarity, the Church reacts responsibly to the global situation of injustice, poverty, inequality, violence and exclusion in the Amazon.  The fundamental assumption is the recognition of unfair relationships.  This is why it is necessary to: ​​A.  Take charge of the denunciation of  extractive methods that damage the territory and violate the rights of the communities.  Raising our voice against projects that have an impact on the environment and promote death.  B. Join the grass roots social movements, to prophetically announce a program of agrarian justice that promotes a profound agrarian reform, supporting organic and agroforestry farming.  Take up the cause of agroecology by incorporating it into their educational processes for greater awareness of the indigenous peoples themselves.  C.  Promote the formation, defense and enforceability of the human rights of the peoples of the Amazon, of other populations and of nature.  Defend minorities and the most vulnerable.  D.  Listen to the cry of the "Mother Earth" attacked and seriously wounded by the economic model of predatory and ecocidal development, which kills and plunders, destroys and clears, distances and discards, which is conceived and imposed from the outside and at the service of powerful external interests. E. Promote the dignity and equality of women in the public, private and ecclesial sphere, ensuring channels of participation, fighting physical, domestic and psychological violence, feminicide, abortion, sexual exploitation and trafficking, committing to fight to guarantee  his rights and to overcome any kind of stereotype.  F.  Promote a new ecological conscience, which leads us to change our consumption habits, to promote the use of renewable energies, avoiding harmful materials and implementing other paths of action according to the Encyclical Laudato si ’.  Promoting alliances to combat deforestation and promote afforestation.  G.  Take charge without fear of the implementation of the preferential option for the poor in the struggle of indigenous peoples, traditional communities, migrants and young people to configure the appearance of the Church in the Amazon.  H.  Create collaboration networks in areas of regional, global and international impact, in which the Church participates organically so that the peoples themselves can present their reports of violation of their human rights ”.

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