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Synod on the Amazon: Draft of Final Document Presented

Will go to Small Circles for Discussion

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the Relator General, presented the draft of the final document of the Synod for the Amazon to participants in the Synod Hall on Monday, October 21, 2019, reported Vatican News. The text, which reflects the interventions presented during the work, will now go to the small groups for discussion in a “collective manner”.

Amendments will be inserted into the final document by the Relator General and the Special Secretaries, with the help of experts. Then the text will be revised by the editorial committee; and on Friday afternoon, the document will be read in the Hall on Friday afternoon, in the course of the 15th General Congregation. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, at the 16th General Congregation, the Synod Fathers will vote on the document.

Monday’s session began as usual with Mid-Morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. The homily was delivered by Archbishop Héctor Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Mexico, who also serves as President of CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Council). He invited those present to look to the example of Saint Francis and his “Canticle of the Creatures”. “For St Francis”, Archbishop Trujillo said, “beauty is not a question of aesthetics, but of love, of fraternity at any cost, of grace at any cost”. The Saint of Assisi, he said, “embraces all creatures with a love and a devotion never seen, speaking to them of the Lord and exhorting them to praise Him. In this sense, Francis came to be the originator of the medieval sentiment for nature”.

Archbishop Trujillo said that three words – “to know, to recognize, to restore” – have marked “the rhythm” of the spiritual journey of the Poor Man of Assisi; that is, to know the Supreme Good, to recognize his benefits, and render praise to Him. If for Saint Francis, sin is an appropriation “only of the will but also of the good” that the Lord works in human beings; praise, on the contrary, means restitution. “Human beings”, Archbishop Cabrejos Vidarte said, “are unable to praise God as they should, because sin has wounded the filial relationship” with the Lord.

It is for creatures, then, as St Francis states in the “Canticle”, to carry out the work of mediation to bring praise to God. In fact, creatures can fill the void created by human beings, who are unable, on account of sin, to worthily offer praise. “Saint Francis discovers in God the place of Creation,” the Archbishop said, “and restores Creation to God because he sees in Him not only the Father of all persons but also the Father of all things”.

The morning session was closed by a special guest who focused on the theme of integral ecology, particularly in relation to climate change.

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