The tragedy of drug trafficking and its consequences was one of the main topics addressed yesterday afternoon in the Synod Hall. The 6th General Congregation of the Synod’s Special Assembly was held at 4:30 pm, on October 9, 2019, with the Pope’s presence and the participation of 180 Synodal Fathers, reported Vatican News.
In some areas that make up the Pan-Amazonian region, the coverage of coca crops has increased from 12,000 to 23,000 hectares, with devastating effects, including an increase in delinquency and the alteration of the natural balance of a territory suffering increasing desertification.
Call to Ecological Conversion
“A claim to ecological conversion is necessary,” the Church must be a prophetic voice so that the subject of integral ecology enters the agenda of international organizations,” heard the Hall.
Pointed out in this connection was the construction of hydroelectric power plants, which leads to the deforestation of large environmental reserves rich in biodiversity, as well as the authorized fires that destroy millions of hectares of land, which has had a very strong impact on the environment in some regions, altering the ecosystem.
The Incarnation: The Greatest Sign of Inculturation
In other interventions of the Synodal Fathers, they reflected again on the balance between inculturation and evangelization, and they invited to look at Jesus’ very eloquent example. “In fact, the Incarnation itself is the greatest sign of inculturation, because the Word of God took on human nature to make Himself visible in His love,” they reminded. “And this is the task of the Church, called to be incarnated in people’s concrete life, as the missionaries have done in Amazonia,” they exhorted.
Expressed in one intervention in particular was the idea that Amazonia should become a “permanent laboratory of missionary synodality,” both for the good of the peoples living in the region as well as for the good of the Church. The importance of inter-culturality was also stressed and of the appreciation of native cultures and populations, whose cosmo-vision helps in the care of our common home.
The Difficulty of Vocations and Viri Probati
Always in connection with evangelization, there was talk of the difficulty of priestly and religious vocations and the question of the viri probati.
Affirmed in one intervention is that it would weaken the thrust of priests to leave one Continent for another, and also one diocese for another. A priest, in fact, is not “of the community,” but “of the Church” and, as such, he can be “for any community.”
Stressed in another intervention was that “ministers of the sacred are not so necessary as are the deacons of the faith.” Then, the need was reiterated “for the greater and better formation of priests” and highlighted, without falling into clericalism, were the “responsibilities of the laity.”
Yet another intervention focused on the topic of popular piety, an aspect of evangelization in face of which one cannot remain indifferent. “It’s a fundamental characteristic of the peoples of Amazonia; therefore, it must be cared for as a treasure in which Jesus Christ shines,” the Synodal Hall heard. Hence the fact that manifestations of popular piety are increasingly accompanied, promoted and appreciated by the Church.
Theology of Creation
The Synodal Hall then turned to the Theology of Creation, in which the Word of God to humanity dwells. From this stemmed the Synodal Fathers’ reflection on the importance of greater dialogue between this Theology and the positive sciences, given that to forget Creation would mean to forget the Creator Himself, they warned.
Time was given to the question of the defense of the rights of the native peoples of Amazonia: the need to dialogue with them is important and it helps to appreciate them as worthy interlocutors with a capacity for self-determination.
Special attention must also be given to the pastoral care of indigenous young people, divided as they are between traditional knowledge and Western knowledge,” reported “Vatican News.”
Women’s Role in the Church
The 6th Congregation also had some auditors, fraternal delegates and special guests who took the floor. In particular, they called for the promotion of women’s role in the Church, and for the need to reinforce their leadership in the family, in society and in the Church. Woman is the guardian of life, the evangelizer, the artisan of hope; she is God’s gentle breeze, the maternal and merciful face of the Church.”
Therefore, it’s important to “recognize the style of the proclamation of the Gospel carried out by the Amazonian women, often silent but very participative in the society. And we have to strengthen a synodality of gender in the Church,” they announced.
Inter-Religious and Ecumenical Dialogue
The Synod Hall also reflected on the importance of inter-religious dialogue, which is centered on trust, on seeing “differences as an opportunity, far from religious colonization and closer to listening and the awareness of otherness,” reported Vatican News.
The ecumenical dialogue was also examined, pointing out the importance of a common path for the protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples, often victims of violence, and of Amazonian territories destroyed by predatory methods of extraction or poisonous crops.
The common proclamation of the Gospel can be “a way to combat these terrible crimes,” they said. “Christians cannot remain silent in face of the violence and injustices suffered by Amazonia and its peoples: to proclaim the love of God in the most remote corners of the region means to denounce all forms of oppression on the beauty of Creation,” they added.
Amazonia, a Concrete Place that Concerns All
Amazonia is a concrete place, where many of the global challenges of our time arise, challenges that affect all of us. The sufferings of the Amazonian peoples stem, in fact, from an “imperial” way of life, in which life is considered as “simple merchandise” and the inequalities become ever more notable. Instead, indigenous peoples can help to understand the interconnection of things: global cooperation is “possible and urgent,” they stressed.
The Pope’s Example
At the beginning of the period dedicated to freedom of expression, the Holy Father wished to contribute to the rereading of the approach taken thus far, stressing what most impressed him of all that he had heard. Pope Francis, who opened the day praying for our “Jewish brothers” on the day of Yom Kippur, at the end of the Congregation he also remembered in his prayer the victims of the attack on the Synagogue in Halle, Germany.