Meeting Of The Pope With The Natives In Puerto Maldonado © Synod For The Amazon

Synod on the Amazon 2019: Relatio Texts: Portuguese Circle A

Working Translation by Zenit

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Here is the Zenit translation of the synod «small circle» report from the Portuguese Circle A. 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: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Neri J. TONDELLO

Moderator: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons.  Jesus M. CIZAURRE BERDONCES, O.A.R.

  1. Synodal Church: New Pathways for the Mission

The Synodal path for Amazonia showed us that the process opened the perspective of a different, but baptismal and collegial, ecclesiology, different from the clerical Church. The Church with an Amazonian face accentuates “the co-responsibility and the participation of all the People of God in the life and mission of the Church.” It urges the creation of new areas of listening, of discernment and participation in the exercise of synodality, not to be and not to act from the Church. Therefore, we propose: to maintain the service of REPAM, to create a representative Episcopal organism of the Local Churches of the Pan-Amazonian Region in liaison with the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

  1. Ordained ministries, in reference to the celebration of the Word of God and the Sacraments, with emphasis on the Eucharis, are made necessary and urgent. The Synod of Amazonia, the Kairos of God, is the opportune occasion for the Church to reconcile herself with Amazonia given the debt she accumulated during the long years of colonization. Given the necessity of a permanent Church beyond the visit, we understand that it is necessary to multiply our presence as Church in Amazonia, with new ministries. Beyond the ministries of lector, acolyte, Permanent Deacon, ministry of the Word, ministry of Baptism, among others, we ask the Holy Father to admit for the Pan-Amazonian region , men to the presbyterial ministry, and women to the diaconate, preferably Indians, respected and recognized by their community, even if they already have a constituted and stable family, for the purpose of ensuring the Sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life of the community (IL 102,2). In this way, we will give a feminine face and a maternal face to the Church.


  1. A Church with an Amazonian and missionary face for the laity, the Religious, Deacons, Fathers and Bishops to give respect to an inculturated formation in Amazonia. The leadership of the Church in Amazonia can no longer import models. It must build its own face with ample and integral formation, beginning from ecological, biblical, communal and ecclesial spirituality, in view of a pastoral, synodal and ecological conversation. In the face of this, we propose a formation that is planned, not improvised, counting on teams of formators, including women. A competent team helped with the vocational pastoral seeking servants of its own region: natives, Indians, riverine persons, quilombolas and others. We also propose the commitment to engage in permanent formation and insist on the missionary spirit and the spirit of poverty.


  1. The Church in Amazonia is made up of many communities, often very distant. The grassroots communities are genuine areas of education of committed faith in life and the transformation of society, having as central the person of Jesus Christ: “Way, Truth, and Life — life in abundance for all.” In the community, we learn to respect the differences. We know the Social Movements and we involve ourselves in them in favor of justice and of peace for the practice of charity They are fruit since the birth of the Church, supported by Vatican Council II, encouraged by Medellin and Puebla. They signify a new Pentecost. The grassroots communities help us to overcome the pastoral of “release.” We want to insist on the missionary dimension of the communities. A Church “going forth” is in a permanent state of mission, thus the communities maintain in the city a dialogue with the public councils of security, social welfare, children and adolescents <and> education.


  1. Migration in the city is the refuge of many brothers and sisters, which calls for an urban pastoral of hospitality, of protection, of promotion and of integration in the path of human dignity. God dwells in the city. We propose to articulate ourselves with international agencies to combat human and drug trafficking.


  1. One of the most neuralgic points in the Pan-Amazonian region is the presence of violence. We face this scourge everywhere: feminicide in the home, institutionalized violence and the State’s omission, violence in garrisoned places and in schools, sexual abuse and exploitation, violation of the rights of native peoples, murder of defenders of territories, drug trafficking, and drug-trade, extermination of the juvenile population, human trafficking. suspected areas with frequent massacres, constant threats against those that defend the truth, justice in rights and land. In the face of this bloody reality, the Church proposes to encourage denunciations, giving support to women and to create and support public policies. We propose the creation of a Human Rights Observatory in the Pan-Amazonian territory, or a Justice and Peace Commission and/or Diocesan Human Rights Committees.


  1. The native peoples of Amazonia pay the highest price with their life because they are not helped, not protected in their territories. In Amazonia is what remained as survival. Yet, it is necessary that they be supported in their organization, to guarantee their right to remain in the land, of which they are the legitimate heirs. We propose for this: to know the rights guaranteed by the 1988 Constitution, as well as the 169 Convention of the International Labour Organization where it guarantees the right of consultation and participation of the native peoples, the Indians, the Afro-descendants, the riverine people, the farmers and those hit by dams.


  1. In Amazonia, we enjoy an ecological, inter-cultural, religious and spiritual biodiversity. We know that dialogue is a bridge for the building of peace and of “good living.” In the face of the differences, we propose an ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. “There won’t be peace in the world if there isn’t peace between the religions” (Hans King). We propose two colloquiums between the theologians of RELEP (Latin American Network of Pentecostal Studies) and Catholic theologians — one in Amazonia and the other in Rome. Those two meetings, as first step, will be fundamental for deepening dialogue and unity in relation to common questions: Christ Jesus, foundation of our faith, as well as the defense of our “Common Home,” of Integral Ecology, of life and the struggle for guarantees of human rights, in the forest, in the countryside and in the city. Still, on this point, we add the inter-institutional dialogue between the Church and the Public Power, with the political community, with the organs of protection of our Common Home, of the territory and of the native peoples.


  1. Integral Ecology and the indigenous cosmo-vision live in a state of alert. The risk of extinction of the peoples of Amazonia together with our Common Home was never so visible as it is now, (Pope Francis in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, January 2018). A worse situation is found, however, in the reality of the isolated peoples. Integral ecology begins with the defense and guarantee of the territory, to ensure the life of the native peoples. We propose a model of alternative development with quality of life through courses in agro-ecology; development of sustainable projects through courses that lead to knowledge of the sacred secrets of nature; through schools of formation in agricultural technologies. We propose to develop reforestation projects — standing forests. We propose alternative projects to mega-projects, for example: PCH projects (Small Hydroelectric Plants); we propose to establish solar energy projects, projects of sustainable extractive <activities>; to strengthen the organization of Fishermen; to support projects to recycle waste.; eco-tourism; to encourage and accompany associations as a way of organizing the population; to monitor illegal gold panning in Amazonia; create legislation that sees nature as the subject of rights.


  1. The people of Amazonia are a religious people. Popular piety and the wisdom of ancestors and Mariology bring their own manifestation in their life of faith. For this, we ask an Amazonian rite with theological, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony that expresses at the same time the universality and catholicity of the Church in Amazonia. To respect the rites of each people, as well as to rescue their religious leaderships (medicine men, Shamans).


  1. Education is the path for a society capable of “good living in happy sobriety.” Only an inculturated education with elements of the peoples can foster leadership in the region. So we propose the creation of indigenous schools and Universities with their own linguistics; to translate IVC’s Bible and catechism. We are going to invest in long-distance Education; open areas to listen to young people and to prepare persons to accompany young people; to make a choice for young people.


  1. Since Vatican Council II, the Church has a preferential option for the poor and the Church of Latin America confirmed this option in Medellin, Puebla, Santo Domingo, and Aparecida. To take care of our Common Home means to take care of human beings. “How inseparable is the bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to the society and interior peace” (Pope Francis, LS, 68). “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the door of our heart and, thirsty, He asks us for love; its omission is the greatest sin against the poor (Pope Francis, Homily of the First World Day of the Poor). To lose the poor is to lose Jesus. Therefore, we propose a poor Church, with the poor, for the poor, a solidary and sister Church.


  1. Many men and women missionaries in Amazonia gave their life for the cause of the Gospel. They incarnated themselves in reality. They lived the spirituality of the Good Samaritan. They were not cowardly in the face of suffering and in face if of the death of the innocent. They did not flee in face of conflicts over the land; they did not accept the death of Christ in the life of the poor. They were agents of mysticism capable of prophecy and courage. Many fell because they didn’t live a culture of religion without commitment to the transformation of society. Moreover, they did not accept to pray before the poor, dead on the altar of sacrifice. They are the martyrs of yesterday and of today. Before Jesus, before the martyrs, men, and women, we propose a pact in the struggle for truth, for the organization of peoples and for the defense of rights with missionary ardor.


  1. In the human face of Jesus, in Nazareth, God communicates Himself as the total plan of love for the sole reason of saving the whole of humanity, through the willingness of the person of goodwill, though the process of conversion. We propose to use the social communication networks on the Web, radio, TV to divulge the conclusions of this Synod, to foster the spirituality of encounter among all the faces of Amazonia. To divulge primarily what is happening in Amazonia or what is said in regard to projects that destroy biodiversity. To proclaim the values od the native peoples that contribute to the Civilization of Love; to open areas for the Indians in our MCSs.; in a time of fake news, to make known to the world the truth of Amazonia.
[Original text: Portuguese]  [ZENIT‘s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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