POPE FRANCIS AND HIS DREAMS FOR A “BELOVED AMAZON”
Along with the press conference at which Pope Francis’ post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazon) was presented this morning, the Vatican also published a summary (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-02/querida-amazonia-synthesis-pope-francis-exhortation-amazon.html), an editorial (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-02/editorial-pope-francis-exhortation-dreams-for-amazon.html) and a video interview with Cardinal Michael Czerny, special secretary of the Synod for the Amazon who presents the main content of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-02/cardinal-czerny-amazon-pope-francis-exhortation.html
I hope to look at some specific points of the exhortation in separate postings.
For starters, it seems the secular world was waiting for the Pope to say “yes” to a married clergy (to ordaining viri probati. that is, married men of proven virtue) but that does not appear in this teaching document by Pope Francis. In Para 90, he asks the bishops of the world for their ideas on how the Amazon people might have more frequency of the sacraments, given the immensity of the region and the scarcity of priests who have to travel huge distances to impart the sacraments to the peoples of the 9 countries that compose this region.
During the October synod, there were some very animated moments, to say the least, when the Synod Fathers, including all the bishops of the 9 Amazon region countries, and invited guests were discussing the priesthood, the possibility of a married clergy, the role of the laity, women in particular, and the word deaconess was heard in the synod hall. Their thoughts and wishes, including looking the possibility of an ordained married clergy, were put into the Amazon synod’s Final Document, a document that was voted on by the Synod Fathers and sent to the Holy Father for his consideration in writing an exhortation.
In the end, there were no theological or ecclesial tsunamis in the exhortation.
It’s a very interesting, readable document, a text some of the presenters at today’s press conference called a “papal love poem to the Amazon.” The small booklet is only 94 pages, footnotes and all.
QUERIDA AMAZONIA: THE POPE’S EXHORTATION FOR A CHURCH WITH AN AMAZONIAN FACE
The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Amazon Region has been published. The document traces new paths of evangelization and care for the environment and the poor. Pope Francis hopes for a new missionary thrust, and encourages the role of the laity within the ecclesial community.
By Alessandro Gisotti (vaticannews)
“The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery.” Thus begins the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia.
Significance of the Apostolic Exhortation
In the first two points (2-4), the Pontiff explains “the significance of this Exhortation”, enriched with references to documents of the Episcopal Conferences of the countries that make up the Amazon region, as well as of poetry written by poets connected to the Amazon. He emphasizes that he desires “to offer my own response” that the Synod evoked in him and explains that he does not intend to substitute or duplicate the Final Document which he invites us to read “in full”. Pope Francis prays that the entire Church might allow itself to be “enriched and challenged” by it and that the Church in the Amazon might strive “to apply it”.
The Pope’s dreams for the Amazon region
Pope Francis shares his “dreams for the Amazon region” (5-7), whose destiny must concern everyone because that land is also “ours”. His “four great dreams” are thus articulated: an Amazon region that “fights for the rights of the poor”, that “preserves its distinctive cultural riches”, that “jealously preserves its overwhelming natural beauty” and lastly, that the Christian communities might be “capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the Amazon region”.
(JFL: The Pope’s four dreams are social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial. To read the entire summary, click here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-02/querida-amazonia-synthesis-pope-francis-exhortation-amazon.html)