Pope Francis said he dreams of an Amazon region where the rights of the poor and indigenous are respected, local cultures are preserved, nature is protected and the Church is present and active with “Amazonian features”. Source: CNS.
By Cindy Wooden, CNS
In his apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazonia), Pope Francis made no mention of the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood so that far-flung Catholic communities would have regular access to the Eucharist.
Instead, he said “every effort should be made to ensure that the Amazonian people do not lack this food of new life and the sacrament of forgiveness.”
“A specific and courageous response is required of the Church” to meet the needs of Catholics, he said, without dictating what that response would be.
However, Pope Francis opened the document saying he wanted “to officially present the final document” of October’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. The final document asked for criteria to be drawn up “to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community with a legitimately constituted and stable family, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, in order to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the word and the celebration of the sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon region.”
Having a Church with “Amazonian features,” he said, also will require greater efforts to evangelise, official recognition of the role women have and continue to play in the region’s Catholic communities, a respect for popular forms of piety and greater efforts to inculturate the Catholic faith in Amazonian cultures.
In the document, Pope Francis did not mention the theft during the Synod of wooden statues of a pregnant woman, usually referred to by the media as “pachamama” or described as a symbol of life and fertility by Synod participants.
But he insisted, “Let us not be quick to describe as superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples.”
While the idea of ordaining women deacons was mentioned at the Synod, it was not included in the bishops’ final document.
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation - Querida Amazonia (Vatican Media)
What’s in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the Amazon synod? (America Magazine)
Pope Francis discerns 'third way' for the Amazon (The Tablet)