Monday, October 14, 2019

@ the Synod today: commitment to human rights

The second of three weeks reserved for the Special Synod on the Pan-Amazonian Region began this morning with the 9th General Congregation.  There are 179 Synod Fathers in attendance.  Together with the Holy Father, they prayed this morning for Ecuador.

The Synod is a Kairos, a time of grace: the Church is listening, in an intentional way and is journeying alongside the people who are native to the forests: geographical and existential peripheries which have received the gift of daily contemplating the Fiat, the first word pronounced by God.  Creation is in fact a green Bible that reveals the Creator and in the celebration of the sacraments commitment to ecology finds its deepest foundation.

Faced with the significant reduction of religious communities in the region, as is happening for example in the State of Parà in Brazil where there is a shift from a pastoral presence to a visitation, religious congregations are asked to recover missionary enthusiasm. At the same time, constant training and catechumenate paths based not only on study books but on field experience in direct contact with local culture should be offered. Taking on an Amazonian face means understanding signs and symbols typical of these peoples and living together in a perspective of dialogue and inter-culturation, encouraging the deepening of an indigenous theology, so that the liturgy responds more and more to local culture. This implies a dynamism: to go outside of our structures and perspectives. In some cases the outgoing Church in the Amazon is already a reality. There are many examples of pastoral presence aimed at encouraging the indigenous, who have been forgotten by much of the world, to take charge of their destiny. They should never, however, give in to the temptation of evangelization based exclusively on welfare programs. At the same time the Church is called to face the challenges posed on the one hand by the proliferation of religious sects and on the other by a relativist culture coming from industrialized countries.

The Church is called to make its voice heard. There are those who said that the pontifical representatives could continue to play an essential role with Governments and International Organizations in order to promote the demands of the Amazon populations, regarding their rights to land, water and the forest. In addition, the Church in the Amazon is called to promote a circular economy that respects local wisdom and practices. The creation of an international ecclesial observatory on the violation of the human rights of the Amazon populations is also invoked. Therefore an exhortation: the industrialized countries express greater solidarity towards countries with fragile economies, also due to the fact that they constitute a higher rate of pollution. The Synod, with the multiplicity of interventions and cues resounding in the classroom, is strengthening in the participants the idea of ​​a united Church around the challenges of the Pan-Amazon region. Every region of the world feels the Amazon as its own and the fruits of this special assembly will benefit the Universal Church.

The Amazon is a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious world where many seeds of the Word have already taken root and are bearing fruit. The creation of an ecosystem of Pan-Amazonian ecclesial communication that reflects the interconnection of the whole of humanity is desirable. The idea is to weave not so much a network of cables, but of human persons. The great difficulties of mobility in the boundless region urgently require greater effectiveness and capillarity of the means of social communication. At the same time, it is necessary to help peoples to be able to critically read information disseminated in a superficial way by some media, unmasking any form of manipulation, distortion or spectacle.

Our presence is fundamental. Not just priests and bishops, but also lay collaborators, men and women. An animator, be it a catechist, reader, someone to care for the sick, a deacon, or an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, exercises his baptismal priesthood when he assumes an attitude of service and not of power or dominion. Precious collaborators in the mission of the Church in the Amazon are women, irreplaceable in caring for the Samaritan, in custody and in the protection of life. At the same time, in the field of education, the urgency of transmitting the faith, motivating young people to build their own life plans, promoting the care of our Common Home, increasing the rejection and counteracting of the trafficking of persons, were all subjects highlighted, as were illiteracy and school dropout. Young people must be helped to integrate ancestral knowledge with the most modern knowledge in order that both contribute to good living. Under the action of the Spirit, cum Petrus et sub Petrus, the Church is therefore spurred to a conversion in an Amazonian perspective and to undertake without prejudice a discernment and a reflection on the theme of the priesthood, including listening to the hypothesis of Ordaining married people, without ever watering down the value of celibacy. It is necessary 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. A reflection on a possible update of the Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam of Paul VI was suggested. The introduction of indigenous permanent deacons who through the ministry of the Word help the local people to better understand the Sacred Texts was also proposed.

The idea of creating eco-intercultural Christian communities open to inter-institutional and inter-religious dialogue that teach new lifestyles oriented towards the care of our Common Home was also advanced. The oil and wood exploitation companies - this was a complaint - damage the environment and undermine the existence of peoples. The natives in fact do not derive any profit from the extraction of the resources, forestry and mining of their lands. It is therefore necessary to forcefully unmask the rampant corruption that feeds inequality and injustice and question what we will leave to future generations. Even the great threat posed by drug trafficking must be countered along with every connivance that feeds it.

Every people has the right to choose what to cultivate, what to eat and how to guarantee access to food while respecting ecosystems. A significant part of agri-food biodiversity in the Amazon is still unknown and has been preserved so far by local populations. It - this was the appeal - cannot be exploited by a few and taken away from the multitude, as happened on the medical front, where plants and active ingredients have enriched pharmaceutical multi-nationals, without giving anything back to the people of that land.

No comments: