The following is my translation of the Vaticannews-provided summary of yesterday afternoon’s 6th General Congregation of the Pan Amazon synod.

I saw nothing about infanticide in the Vatican media reports and yet it has made a splash, mostly in the daily press briefings. Today I posted this in Twitter and FB: I hope we hear more in coming days about infanticide because it has not been a big part of reflections so far. I do not remember it being mentioned in the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris but will check. Its omission would be grave.

I have updated that with a report on the question about infanticide asked at today’s press briefing.

Vatican News – Vatican City

#SinodoAmazonico. (Topics) The drama of drug trafficking and the call for ecological conversion. In the presence of the Pope, the 6th General Congregation of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region was held Wednesday afternoon, October 9. 180 Synod Fathers present.

The drama of drug trafficking and its consequences.
This is one of the interventions that resonated this afternoon in the Synod Hall during the 6th General Congregation. In some areas that make up the Pan-amazon region, the cultivation of coca has grown from 12,000 to 23,000 hectares with devastating effects due to the increase in crime and the disruption of the natural balance of the territory, increasingly desertified. Even the construction of hydroelectric power plants, which involves deforestation of large environmental reserves rich in biodiversity, as well as authorized fires that destroy millions of hectares of land, have a very strong impact on the environment of some regions, altering the ecosystem. For this reason, a call to ecological conversion is necessary. Tthe Church – it is said in the synod – is a prophetic voice for the theme of integral ecology to enter the agenda of international organizations.

Inculturation and evangelization.
In the other interventions of the Synod Fathers, we return to reflect on the balance between inculturation and evangelization and are invited to look at the example of Jesus, so eloquent. The incarnation itself, in fact, is the greatest sign of inculturation, because the Word of God assumed human nature to make himself visible in his love. And this is the task of the Church, called to incarnate in the concrete life of people, as the missionaries in the Amazon did.

Missionary synodality.
In one particular speech, the idea is expressed that the Amazon could become a permanent laboratory of missionary synodality, both for the good of the peoples living in the region, and for the good of the Church. Also underlined was the importance of inter-culturality and the enhancement of the original cultures and populations, whose worldview helps in the care of the common home.

The difficulty of vocation and the way of the ‘viri probati.’
Still on the subject of evangelization, we speak of the difficulty of priestly and religious vocations and we pause on the path of the ‘viri probati’: One intervention said this would weaken the thrust of priests to go out from one continent to another and even one diocese to another. The priest is, in fact, not “of the community,” but “of the Church” and, as such, can be “for any community.” Another intervention emphasized that it is not so much ministers of the sacred who are needed but deacons of the faith. The need for more and better formation for priests was then reaffirmed, as was a call for an evaluation (appreciation), distant from clericalism, of the responsibilities of the laity.

Popular piety.
A further intervention focused on the theme of popular piety, an aspect of evangelization before which one cannot remain indifferent: it is a fundamental characteristic of the peoples of the Amazon and it is therefore necessary to take care of them as a treasure in which Jesus Christ shines. Hence the idea that manifestations of popular piety are increasingly accompanied, promoted and valued by the Church

The theology of creation.
The gaze of the Synod Hall expands, moreover, to the theology of creation, in which resides the Word of God to humanity. Hence, the reflection of the Fathers on the importance of a greater dialogue between this theology and the positive sciences, since forgetting creation would mean forgetting the Creator himself. Space is also given to the defense of the rights of the original peoples of the Amazon: dialogue with them, says synod participants, is important and helps to enhance them as worthy interlocutors, endowed with the ability to self-determination. Particular attention should also be paid to pastoral care for indigenous youth, divided as they are between traditional and western knowledge.

The role of women in the Church and in society.
The 6th Congregation also saw some of the listeners, fraternal delegates and special guests take the floor. In particular, the role of women and enhancing their leadership within the family, society and the Church was stressed. Participants said a woman is the guardian of life, an evangelizer, an artisan of hope, the gentle breeze of God, the maternal and merciful face of the Church. It is important, therefore, to recognize the style of the proclamation of the Gospel carried out by Amazonian women, often silent, but very participatory in society. And it was again stated that it is necessary to strengthen a synodality of genders in the Church.

Inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue.
The Synod Hall also reflects on the importance of interreligious dialogue, one that focuses on trust, on seeing differences as an opportunity, far from religious colonization and close to listening and awareness of otherness. We then look at ecumenical dialogue, highlighting the importance of a common path also for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, often victims of violence, and of Amazonian territories destroyed by predatory mining methods or poisonous crops. A common gospel announcement can be a way to combat these horrendous crimes. Christians, it was added,, cannot remain silent in the face of the violence and injustices suffered by the Amazon and its peoples. announcing the love of God in the most remote corners of the region means denouncing all forms of oppression on the beauty of Creation.

The Amazon, a concrete place that concerns everyone.
The Amazon is a concrete place in which many global challenges of our time are manifested, challenges that affect everyone. The sufferings of the Amazonian peoples, in fact, derive from an “imperial” lifestyle, in which life is considered as simple merchandise and inequalities end up being increasingly strengthened. Instead, indigenous peoples can help (us) to understand the interconnectedness of things: worldwide cooperation is possible and urgent.

The Pope’s example.
At the beginning of the free (unscripted) speeches, the Pope also wanted to contribute to the re-reading of the path traveled so far, emphasizing what struck him more as he listened. Francis, who had opened the works by praying for the “Jewish brothers” on the day of Yom Kippur, at the end of the Congregation recalled in prayer the victims of the attack on the synagogue in Halle, Germany.