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

Working Translation by Zenit

Here is the Zenit translation of the synod “small circle” report from the Portuguese Circle 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: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Wilmar SANTIN, O.CARM.

Moderator: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Alberto TAVEIRA CORREA

The group reflected on the following subjects: 1) Formation of the laity and of missionaries; 2) Violence to peoples, persons, and nature; 3) Amazonian cultures and Evangelization; 4) Popular piety; 5) Consecrated Life in Amazonia; 6) Youth; 7) Ministries.

  1. FORMATION OF THE LAITY

The need was seen to give greater formation to the laity in the Catholic identity — be it kerygmatic, biblical, or theological for action in society based on the Social Doctrine of the Church. Formation is worth highlighting to understand and live the Sacraments, one of the basic elements of Catholic identity. The formation must be integral and not only doctrinal, but it must also lead to an experience of an encounter with Jesus Christ and to greater participation in the community, that is, a human, psychological and affective formation for wounded and fragile persons, who suffer all sorts of violence. Formation must also be given for ecumenism and interculturality.

2. FORMATION OF THE MISSIONARY CLERGY

The Church will fulfill her mission well by forming her presbyters well. Therefore, it is recommended that the formation of priests include a practical formation and direct experience of pastoral works, beyond academic studies. Sight must not be lost of the fact that the Fathers are formed for the Church and for the world, and not only for a diocese or Congregation. All the formators for the priesthood must have the experience of a Church going forth, that is, doing works with street people and home to home visits, going to prisons, hospitals, etc.

3. VIOLENCE AGAINST THE POOR

Violence in the Amazon is practiced against persons, peoples, cultures, and nature. The creation of an International Observatory and Centers of Rights would be useful, aiming at demarcation, protection and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and ILO’s Convention 169. The Church must invest in the formation of agents of the pastoral and leaders to train them to address the challenges of violations of Human Rights and of nature, and the State must also be paid to carry out public policies regarding the native peoples. The defense of the poor and of nature should be an ecclesial action, and not just pastoral. Therefore, the social pastorals must be ecclesial and walk within the pastoral of the whole and not in a parallel way. The good things that the Church does through social pastorals should be more divulged.

4. VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS

In regard to violence against persons, it is necessary to give voice and protection to those violated. Human trafficking must be combated and the Church cannot be silent. The parishes must create safe areas for children, adolescents and the vulnerable. Respect must be exacted for the Statutes on Children and the Unborn. Catholics must be encouraged to take part in the Municipal Councils. An endeavor of prevention must be assumed for children and adolescents <in regard> to sexual abuse, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and femicide, and protection <must be given> to defenders of human rights and of nature.

5. CULTURES

“The disappearance of culture can be as or more grave than the disappearance of an animal or vegetable species” (Laudato Si’ 145). This is an exhortation to respect and defend all cultures, however, one cannot cease to proclaim the Gospel. The Sermon on the Mount is an unsurpassable proposal, which must be presented in all cultures. Ethnocide must be combatted because it kills the culture and the spirit. Therefore, a missionary must be stripped of all colonialist mentality and respect the customs, rites, beliefs, <and> habits of persons of that culture.

Nature

Humanity marches for the recognition of nature as subject of law. The anthropocentric utilitarian vision has been overcome, which means that humans can no longer subject nature’s resources to an unlimited exploitation of nature, which puts humanity itself at risk.

God’s plan of life solicits from us a relationship with one another, with creation and with God. It is essential to promote human dignity and the common good of society and environmental care (Laudato Si’ 137-142).

  1. Proposed are institutional lines of action, which promote respect for a better environment.
  2. Planning formal and informal formation programs on the care of our Common Home for the pastoral agents and the faithful, open to the whole community in “an effort of formation of the population’s conscience” (LS, 214) based on chapters Five and Six of the Encyclical Laudato Si’.
  3. Denounce the violation of human rights and destructive extractive <activities>.
  4. Creation of a ministry of guardians of our Common Home.

6) POPULAR PIETY IN AMAZONIA

Given the great importance of popular piety, it is recommended that:

  1. The manifestations with which the people express their faith, through images, symbols, traditions, rites, and other sacramentals be appreciated, accompanied and promoted;
  2. Patronal feasts be taken advantage of as privileged moments of evangelization and directed to the mystery of Christ;
  3. Popular devotions be illumined with the Word of God;
  4. “An appropriate catechesis must be given that accompanies the faith already present in popular religiosity. A concrete way would be to offer a process of Christian initiation . . . which leads us increasingly to be more like Jesus Christ, to trigger a progressive appropriation of His attitudes” (DAp, n. 300);

7) CONSECRATED LIFE IN AMAZONIA

From the first days of the colonization of Amazonia, religious life always has had an outstanding role in the work of evangelization of the Amazonian peoples. They were the most far off and inhospitable corners. Thousands of consecrated <persons>, with idealism and commitment, spent their youthful energies and enthusiasm for the cause of the Kingdom.

The men and women religious came with a detached and free heart, to be able to insert themselves in the local reality with its demands as, for example: to learn the languages <and> the religious and cultural practices.

It is of fundamental importance that the Religious Congregations found again stable missionary communities in indigenous villages, assigning consecrated <persons> so that they can insert themselves wholly in the culture and evangelize with efficacy. The men and women religious must be willing to share the local life with their heart, head, and hands.

The consecrated enrich ecclesial life with their own charisms.

8) YOUTH

The youth make up a great part of the Amazonian population and merit special attention on the part of the Church. Recommended in the first place is the implementation of the conclusions of the Synod on Youth. It was also seen that the Church must go out more to encounter the youth in schools and also from house to house. The parishes must offer accompaniment to young people, counting primarily on the laity prepared for this. They must create youth Oratories and leisure and artistic centers (theater, music, dance, etc.). Take advantage of the means of communication and of the social networks. Emphasize the youth, school and university pastoral.

Migrations and Cities

 The greater part of the population is in cities, hence, the urban pastoral is a great challenge. The Church must be in a permanent state of reception and proclamation. Encourage family agriculture ethnoecology and income generation.

Exact before the public powers that they respond to the need for urban, rural and indigenous public policies. To exact that a prior, free and informed consultation be made of the people in face of works and projects that promote aggravating the migratory and socio-environmental impact due to the economic model.

To constitute missionary teams in a coordinated way, so that they can attend to and accompany migrants in the urban areas.

Beyond the <existing> indigenous pastoral, to strengthen the indigenous pastoral and encourage indigenous health centers.

Ministries

We reaffirm the value of celibacy and the need for better commitment in the vocational pastoral. We consider essential the appreciation of the existing ministries and the institution of new ministries in keeping with the needs.

The listening carried out prior to the Synod manifested the desire to confer Presbyterial Ordination on viri probati, as well as the ministry of the diaconate on women. Those two points call for further maturation and deepening.

[Original text: Portuguese]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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