The Synod for the Amazon: from faith to politics, all is connected

Tudo está interligado, all is connected, some members of the Synod for the Amazon sang in the aula, who sometimes used the poetry of their people to express themselves. At the halfway point, living it from inside, I am able to highlight some aspects of this great ecclesial event. And I do so having experienced on January 19, 2018 Francis’ extraordinary encounter with 20 indigenous peoples at Puerto Maldonado (Peru), where he urged all of them to «form a Church with a face of the Amazon and a Church with an indigenous face».

The Amazon, which covers nine nations (Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru), is speaking from Rome. The periphery speaks form the center with the awareness that its experience is heard as a prophetic voice for the whole Church. And, precisely for this, it is judged by some as disturbing.

This is the point: today the Church has an extraordinary need for prophecy in the face of the great challenges of the present, and to discern what future we want to build.

The interventions in the aula and in the groups are painting a large fresco in which everything is interconnected: faith and history, hope and geography, charity and politics.

The ecological themes are experienced in a perspective of faith, as part of the social doctrine of the Church and in their close connections with the desire for justice. But they are framed in a perspective that goes well beyond the Amazon: the concern for salvation — the salus animarum — is deeply connected to that of the fate of planet Earth and all of humanity. From this mature experience it will be possible to point out «new paths» for the universal Church.

Beyond the possible solutions on which there is discussion, there is expressed, for example, the awareness of the difficulty for communities to regularly celebrate the Eucharist due to a lack of priests. There was clear talk of the right of the faithful to not remain in a fast from the Eucharist and of the obligation of the pastors to provide bread. But also was expressed a broader and more mature vision of the Church, finally alienated from clericalism, aware of the need to imagine new ecclesial ministries, also for women. It is a clear from the testimonies how much the Church of the Pan-Amazon region owes its life to women. It is also understood how the laity already actually have the task of teaching and supporting the ecclesial communities.

Finally, the Synod aula reveals a soul deeply hybrid.

Everything is mixed and connected giving life to a living, lively, original organism. And this is the Church.

Director of La Civiltà Cattolica @CivCatt, Consultor at Pontifical @VaticanCultura, Board of Directors @Georgetown University. Jesuit.

Director of La Civiltà Cattolica @CivCatt, Consultor at Pontifical @VaticanCultura, Board of Directors @Georgetown University. Jesuit.