Here is the Zenit translation of the synod “small circle” report from the Spanish-Speaking group D. On October 17, 2019, during the course of 13th General Congregation on the Amazon, the Reports of the 12 Minor Circles were presented. These ‘Minor Circles’ met in the recent General Congregations. Translations of all circles will be provided as soon as possible:
Rapporteur: Revd. Fr. Alfredo FERRO MEDINA, S.J.
Moderator: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Omar de Jesus MEJIA GIRALDO
We cannot lose the perspective and the horizon of the new pathways we must follow as Church, and to what the SYNOD calls us. Beyond desires, it is necessary to concretize proposals and define what these new pathways must be, which must arise from a profound conversion, where we can “corazonar” or listen to the heart (to have the courage to face the reality and bet on life in Amazonia). We want to focus on some central nuclei of reflection and reflect further.
- THE AMAZONIAN REALITY IS THREATENED IN ITS TERRITORIES AND PEOPLES
The Pan-Amazonia territory and its peoples live a permanent threat, due to the development and predatory model that is imposed. Various mega-projects are underway; violence is visited on the peoples; states implement policies of concession of territories and drug-trafficking, among other evils, which have disastrous effects on our society. All the foregoing leads us to propose the creation of an OBSERVATORY on the violation of Human Rights, making a productive alliance between REPAM, and the CIDH, the National Episcopates, the local Churches, the Catholic Universities and other non-ecclesial actors in the Continent, and increase the agreements or conventions of the Holy See with international organisms.
The Amazon has diverse challenges; therefore, as Church, we must be prophetic, take a position and create alliances, which enable us to be at the side of the most vulnerable. It is necessary to know in depth what is happening in our territories. Required, therefore, is that each local or regional Church undertake its own diagnosis and have an understanding of the territory, to be able to take up a position and make decisions.
We must acknowledge that we learn from the Indians to look after the territory, to conserve it and respect life. We make evident the understanding the indigenous peoples have of their territory, different from a Western vision and, therefore, one of our tasks as Church will be to make an appeal to States to respect and to see to it that one vision of the territory doesn’t prevail over the other.
2. A MINISTERIAL CHURCH<STEMMING> FROM A PASTORAL CONVERSION FOCUSED ON AN INTEGRAL ECOLOGY: CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME
If to evangelize is to make the GOOD NEWS a reality, our pastoral action must have the territory as its focus and the quest for or recognition of GOOD LIVING, which are the expression of the Kingdom of God. We must be aware that our action from different and varied contexts, realities and peoples (Indians, peasants, riverside dwellers, Afro-descendants, settlers, urban <people>, whom we must recognize, ask different answers from us. Our bet, requires our allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new, to listen to the people and to nature with an integral look.
It is urgent that we reflect further on the meaning of a MINISTERIAL and servant CHURCH in a synodal key, passing from a “pastoral of visit” to a “pastoral of presence,” and where there is co-responsibility and commitment to an evangelizing process, from a permanent conversion (Pastoral, Ecological and Synodal). We hardly have Christian communities. Rather, what we have are liturgical assemblies. Pastoral work, therefore, must be focused on forming Christian communities and, from there, see what ministries are required to serve the community better. We would not want servants of the presbyters, but of the community, avoiding likewise clericalizing the laity.
In this perspective, we are urged to confer ministries on men and women in an equitable way, on those that have the possibility, the maturity, the virtue, and the appropriate formation and, when considered opportune, therefore, recognize officially services that are already given or could be given, whether temporal or permanent, as are : Permanent Deacons, reconcilers, lectors, delegates of the word, translators, catechists, community leaders, those in charge of charity, ministers of Communion, exorcists-healers, narrators, carers of the Common Home and many others that, in keeping with the contexts or needs, are required for the mission. We make a special mention, acknowledging the women that in fact already give invaluable service. In fact, there are already experiences in the ministerial Churches that must be made known, which we could evaluate and learn from them, who point out to us a possible path. And, in this connection, affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, it is requested that communities promote the presbyterial Ordination of virtuous persons, presented by their own communities and respected by them.
We also face the challenge to promote and live an inculturated liturgy, as a living experience of the faith, with the indigenous peoples own signs and symbols, guaranteeing the right of every baptized person to celebrate fully, consciously and actively. Moreover, we must ask ourselves what it means to celebrate the Eucharist, particularly in some communities, and how to achieve that many of them, that at present can’t celebrate it may do so, knowing that they have the right to do so.
3. PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR AND WITH THE INDIANS, WITH THEIR OWN RENEWED, INCULTURATED PASTORAL AND IN INTER-CULTURAL DIALOGUE
The cries of the indigenous peoples question us. We cannot be silent in the face of them and it is necessary to act. We must keep present particularly the defense and the struggles of these peoples for their rights, for their territory and its demarcation, and the defense of their own way of life, of their culture and surroundings, without forgetting the reality of the peoples in voluntary isolation.
In these contexts, as Church, a preferential option is necessary for the Indians, in which we assume a renewed INDIGENOUS PASTORAL that listens, dialogues, is incarnated and lives, in so far as possible, as permanent presence, without because of it, idealizing the indigenous communities and peoples. An urgent challenge <also> arises for an indigenous pastoral in the urban reality.
This challenge, <which is> of great importance for the Church, invites us to accompany the indigenous peoples, by creating itinerant teams that collaborate and contribute to guaranteeing the full rights of these peoples and, particularly, of those that are in voluntary isolation, to their self-determination, to the defense of their lands, and to decide the type of relationship they would like with third parties. Likewise, we call for the consolidation of an Indian Theology and Amazonian rites, that is, a theology and a liturgy with an indigenous face, beginning from the spirituality of the original peoples and their religious and mystical experiences.
Inter-cultural dialogue and inculturation are not excluding terms. Inculturation, incarnation, insertion or preferential option doesn’t mean we make ourselves equal to them or believe that they are going to be like us. When we speak of inculturation, it is not only about learning a language or translating some texts, but about understanding the life of these peoples and about beginning a dialogue or a sincere and respectful, intercultural and inter-religious poly-dialogue, emphasizing interculturality as principle of action, in which we are willing to learn from them and where we are mutually enriched.
4. AN EDUCATION AND FORMATION THAT IS PROPER TO AMAZONIA
In regard to education and formation, we must make alternative proposals, with social responsibility and environmental care, from the knowledge of families and communities, in order to transmit traditional learning, articulating traditional education with the institutionalized school, in addition to inter-cultural and bilingual proposals, be it in basic or higher education.
We must develop processes of integral and permanent formation. We are conscious that these processes of formation are slow; they exact from us accompaniment, revision and multiple changes or transformations. Ideally, it should be they themselves as peoples, who should be the most indicated to be formators, from <their> communities and from the realities they live and to which they must respond.
We are particularly concerned about the formation of seminarians, presbyters and members of Religious Communities, which should be permanent and in response to the urgencies and challenges that the reality of the territories and communities themselves present. We believe it is necessary that the presbyters grow in missionary formation, that Seminaries, in general, be transformed or rather that indigenous Seminaries be established, which respond to the Amazonian reality, that secular institutes be created of formation for those that want to be missionaries in Amazonia, without being consecrated or ordained, and that they be given an equitable treatment both in the Dioceses as well as in the Vicariates.
5. MIGRATIONS, URBAN REALITY, AND PROBLEMS
We must be aware of the different types of migrations existing in Amazonia and to Amazonia, and the causes or factors of the same, as well as what we could call the forced displacements due fundamentally to conflicts of different sorts present in the territory.
As a consequence of these migrations, particularly those of the indigenous peoples, we have family disintegration, the loss of cultural identity, social marginalization, the rejection by city people where they arrive as strangers, are exploited, fall into violent and criminal structures, into prostitution, etc.
Both the indigenous and rural territories, as well as the cities, suffer a permanent pressure of which we must be aware and willing to act as Church jointly, particularly on the borders, defining the type of service we can give. To do so, we must enter in dialogue with the local governments (governorships and mayoral offices, etc.) study and propose projects that tend to satisfy the primary needs of the communities.
This diverse reality, which we have not attended to sufficiently, challenges us to give an answer from our pastoral structures, for the purpose of accompanying the more vulnerable with a pastoral appropriate to the circumstances.
6. ECCLESIASTICAL STRUCTURE AND RUPTURE OF BORDERS
We must question ourselves about the way we have structured ourselves from the parishes, the local, national border Churches and at the Pan-Amazonian level, where we hardy articulate ourselves or create synodal areas. Therefore, it is necessary to constitute ourselves as a Church going forth, which is capable of breaking borders and creating networks of support, solidarity and common ecclesial actions.
Let us put the Episcopal Conferences on an Amazonian horizon and let us advance in Amazonian ecclesiastical provinces at the national level. We propose an ECCLESIAL COUNCIL OF THE PAN-AMAZONIAN CHURCH, which is a Pan-Amazonian ecclesial structure linked to CELAM, that is slight in<its> alliance with REPAM — which among other things, can provide an executive service –, the Episcopal Conferences of the Amazonian countries, the CARITAS, the CLAR, and the local Churches.[Original text: Spanish] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]