10/07/2019, 14.05
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Amazon Synod: Hummes notes need for married priests and "ministry" for women

The work of the Special Assembly opens. The goal, indicated by Francis, is "to find new ways to evangelize that portion of the People of God, especially the indigenous, often forgotten and without the prospect of a peaceful future, also due to the crisis of the Amazon forest, lung of capital importance for our planet ”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Ordain married priests and seek "a suitable ministry" for "women community leaders" are among the proposals put forward by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, general relator of the Panamazonic Synod, in his presentation of the Instrumentum laboris, the working document drawn up with suggestions from episcopates, religious and other ecclesial structures.

The presentation of the Brazilian cardinal came in the first General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the Synod which was opened yesterday morning by Pope Francis and which will continue until October 27, on the theme "Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an integral ecology".

According to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, the assembly, in its report with which the works were opened, the Pope present, has a double objective: "On the one hand, the Synod constitutes a real challenge for the Church, since the Amazon is a mission land with its own characteristics that require adequate proposals to respond to the "need to evangelize cultures to inculturate the Gospel" (EG 69). On the other hand, the synodal assembly will have to face the provocation advanced by the environmental question, answering "with an integral ecology". The purpose, indicated by Francis, is “to find new ways to evangelize that portion of the People of God, especially the indigenous, often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazon forest, the lung of important for our planet ”.

In view of "racing new paths", , Card. Hummes offered an analysis of the situation. He said the Church must "go out and set out in history, in these times of epochal changes, always walking alongside everyone, especially those who live in the suburbs of humanity".

He launched a "do not be afraid of the new", recalling how the Pope "in his speech to the Brazilian bishops, during World Youth Day, in 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, talking about the Amazon as 'litmus test  for the Church and for Brazilian society ', the Pope proposes' to re-launch [there, in the Amazon] the work of the Church', 'to consolidate the Amazonian face of the Church' and 'to form a native clergy' , adding: 'In this, please, I ask you to be brave, to be fearless' ”.

"Since the beginning of the colonization of Amazonia - recalled Card. Hummes - there were Catholic missionaries, both to give assistance to the colonizers, and to evangelize the natives at the time. Thus began the evangelizing mission of the Church in the region ". Amid lights and shadows, "certainly more lights than shadows", missionaries "have tried to bring Jesus Christ to the local peoples and to build Catholic communities. It is right to remember, recognize and exalt, in this synod, the heroic - and often to the point of martyrdom - history of all the missionaries and missionaries of the past and also of those and those of today in the Panamazonia ". "Alongside the missionaries, there have always been numerous lay and indigenous leaders who have given a heroic witness and who have often been - and still are - killed."


It is a Church that has always offered "great and fundamental services to the local population in schools, health care, in the fight against poverty and against the violation of human rights", but which has always had "a great lack of material resources and missionaries for a full development of the communities, in particular the almost total absence of the Eucharist and of other essential sacraments for the daily Christian life ".

The part that certainly will be at the center of discussions and controversy starts from this statement. " During the consultation stages, indigenous communities, faced with the urgent need experienced by most of the Catholic communities in Amazonia, requested that the path be opened for the ordination of married men resident in their communities, albeit confirming the great importance of the charisma of celibacy in the Church. At the same time, faced with a great number of women who nowadays lead communities in Amazonia, there is a request that this service be acknowledged and there be an attempt to consolidate it with a suitable ministry for them".

"They want the Church's support in defending and upholding their rights as well as in the creation of their future ". " It is necessary that the right to be the leading players in their own history be returned and guaranteed to indigenous populations, as the subjects and not objects of the spirit or the victims of anyone’s colonialism. Their cultures, languages, history, identity and spirituality are humanity’s wealth and must be respected and preserved as well as included in global culture. ".

On the other hand, the Church is aware that " Ours is a Church that is aware that its religious mission, in keeping with its faith in Jesus Christ, inevitably includes “care of the common home”. This bond also proves that the cries of the land and those of the poor in this region are one and the same. Life in Amazonia has perhaps never before been so threatened “by environmental destruction and exploitation and by the systematic violation of the basic human rights of the Amazon population. In particular, the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples, such as the right to territory, to self-determination, to the demarcation of territories, and to prior consultation and consent”

"Numerous consultations held throughout the Amazon show that the communities consider that life in the Amazon is especially threatened by: (a) criminalization and assassination of leaders and defenders of the territory; (b) appropriation and privatization of natural goods such as water itself; (c) both legal logging concessions and illegal logging; (d) predatory hunting and fishing, mainly in rivers; (e) mega-projects: hydroelectric and forest concessions, logging for monoculture production, construction of roads and railways, or mining and oil projects; (f) pollution caused by the entire extractive industry that causes problems and diseases, especially among children and young people; (g) drug trafficking; (h) the resulting social problems associated with these threats such as alcoholism, violence against women, sex work, human trafficking, loss of original culture and identity (language, spiritual practices and customs), and all conditions of poverty to which the peoples of the Amazon are condemned (IL,15)".

In conclusion, the cardinal proposed "In conclusion, to comply with the working dynamics of this synodal assembly, I wish to suggest a number of core issues: a) The outgoing Church and its new pathways in Amazonia; b) The Church’s Amazonian face: inculturation and inter-culturality in a missionary-ecclesial context; c)Ministries in the Church in Amazonia: presbyterate, deaconate, ministries and the role played by women; d) The work done by the Church in looking after our “shared home”; listening to the earth and to the poor; integral environmental, economic, social and cultural ecology; e) The Amazonian Church in the urban reality; f) The issues concerning water; g) others".

Finally, Card. Baldisserri spoke of "a" zero-impact synod ". On the basis of the calculations carried out, we intend to offset the emissions of 572,809 kg of CO2 (438,373 kg for air travel and 134,435 kg the other activities) generated by the consumption of energy, water, preparation, mobility of participants, by production of waste and promotional materials, with the purchase of forestry licenses for the reforestation of an area of ​​50 hectares of forest in the Amazon basin ". (FP)

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