Amazon Synod: protection of human rights and the need for formation
Much has been said about the ecology, migrations and predatory extractive models in the 3rd General Congregation of the Synod, but also about the formation of seminarians and laity, of the ordination of married elders and female deaconates. Violence against nature and against the natives who defend it was another very present topic. "The destruction of nature contradicts the Christian faith, and invokes the responsibility of all to seek a new concept of development and progress".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Much has been said about the protection of human rights, ecology, migration and predatory extractive models in the 3rd General Congregation of the Special Synod for the Amazon, but also in the formation of seminarians and laity, of ordination of elderly married and female deaconate.
"The request for new ministries - said Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for the communication of the Holy See, during today's briefing – comes from of communities without spiritual guides and without people who can celebrate the Eucharist. The faithful demand a permanent presence, not just a visitor. In territories as large as Italy there are 60-70 priests, and some communities see a priest once a year, or even less ". Hence the urgency of formation, a theme of which the synod fathers "spoke a lot", with particular reference to the formation of the laity. Among the proposals put forward, that of "temporary local deacons".
Another proposal was to think of the priestly consecration of some married men, the so-called "viri probati" - hypothesized yesterday in the report of the Card. Hummes - then assessing the validity or otherwise of this experience. For some, however, such a proposal could lead the priest to be a simple official of the Mass and not a pastor of the communities, a teacher of Christian life, a concrete presence of the closeness of Christ. It was pointed out that the "viri probati" proposal arises from a "legitimate need, but cannot affect a substantial rethinking of the nature of the priesthood and its relationship with celibacy, envisaged by the Church of the Latin rite".
The formation of ordained ministries was also discussed, conceived on three levels: a widespread formation at the parish level, with reading and meditation on the Word of God; an intensive full-time formation, intended for animators of communities, and a systematic theological formation for candidates for ordained ministries and for men and women who wish to engage in lay ministries. Emphasis was given to the re-thinking of seminarian formation to become closer to the life of the communities. Finally, another proposals put forward, included the possibility of a diaconal ordination for women, so as to enhance their ecclesial vocation.
Violence against nature and against the natives who defend it was another very present topic. "The destruction of nature contradicts the Christian faith, and calls on everyone to be responsible for a new concept of development and progress," said Ruffini.
In discussions in the Synod hall it was pointed out that in the Amazon the number of those who gave their lives for the defense of nature is appalling: between 2003 and 2017 , 1119 indigenous have been killed defending their territories. Often, social leaders are victims of impunity and state powers insufficient in guaranteeing security. In this perspective, it was reiterated that the Church must defend those who struggle to protect their lands by creating, where there are already no specific protection networks or by activating, at the diocesan level, permanent actions of solidarity and the promotion of social justice . It was reiterated that the Church's task is to raise the voice against projects that destroy the environment. At the same time, the Synod Fathers highlighted the importance of promoting a more participatory politics and an economy that distances itself from the "waste culture", focusing instead on experiences of alternative economics, such as that of small cooperatives that directly trade forest products, without going through the big production chains.
The Synod also reflected on the issue of migration, both those of the indigenous peoples towards the big cities, and those of the populations that cross the Amazon to reach other countries of destination. From this derives the importance of a specific pastoral care of the Church: the Amazon region as an area of migratory flows, in fact, is an emerging reality, a new missionary frontier that must be faced in an inter-ecclesial sense, also finding a greater collaboration between the Churches local and other bodies involved in the sector. The drama was also remembered of migration also affects the youth of Amazonia, forced to leave the original countries because they are increasingly threatened by unemployment, violence, trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking, prostitution and exploitation.
The Church, therefore, needs to recognize, value, support and strengthen the participation of Amazonian youth in ecclesial, social and political spaces, since young people are "prophets of hope".