Amazon synod: actions speak louder than words

The Catholic Church in the Amazon region must implement the Amazon synod recommendations, says Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, president of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic in the two years since the synod, there have been many interviews, documents and meetings “to reflect and discern about ‘what we should do,'” Hummes says.

Although these actions are important, they are not enough, he says.

“Instead of asking ourselves only what we should do, how to do it, when will we do it, let us see and promote what we are doing and what we did yesterday.”

Hummes served as relator general at the 2019 synod, which reflected on “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.”

In February last year the Vatican released Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation “Querida Amazonia” (Beloved Amazonia).

In this, he highlights the issues affecting poor and indigenous communities in the Amazon region. These issues include deforestation, drug trafficking, pollution and contamination caused by mining industries.

In a letter to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Hummes reiterates those issues and their consequences, particularly for indigenous communities.

Concerns include “alcoholism, violence against women, sex trafficking and “the loss of culture and original identity — language, spiritual practices and customs — and all the poor conditions to which the people of the Amazon are condemned.”

Hummes also acknowledges the pope’s call for an increase in permanent deacons to address the lack of priests in the region and how that particularly impacts remote communities.

In Querida Amazonia, Francis says while priests are needed, “this does not mean that permanent deacons — of whom there should be many more in the Amazon region — religious women and lay persons cannot regularly assume important responsibilities for the growth of communities, and perform those functions ever more effectively with the aid of a suitable accompaniment.”

Urgent needs include opening schools for permanent deacon candidates, “catechists and community leaders, both women and men,” as well as a “synodal renewal of our current clergy and religious men and women,” Hummes says.

“These schools, in turn, will have to innovate and inculturate, both in methodology and curriculum.”

Hummes says there is still a lot to be done to fully implement the synod recommendations.

He is calling on organisations in the Amazon region, including the Pan-Amazonian Church Network to “take on with us this synodal process.”

“As I have expressed, it would help us very much if we could make known to the entire ecclesial network what is already being done,” the cardinal said.

“All this would help us greatly to visualize, recognize, learn, socialise and give thanks in a synodal spirit,” he says.


Additional reading

News category: Top Story, World.

Tags: , , ,