The Vatican news team issued an Italian summary of the main points made this morning by some participants on this second day of the pan-Amazon synod. Lists are made available of the speakers at each day’s morning or afternoon sessions but the specific points raised, as you will read below, are not attributed to specific people.

During the years I worked at VIS, the Vatican Information Service, we always dreaded the announcement of a fall synod because of the huge burden of work it placed on us and on so many others who worked for the Roman Curia. The main duty of those of us who worked with the 4 languages of VIS – English, Spanish, French and Italian – was to write a summary of each presentation of each person as delivered in the synod hall.

You see, each synod father or person who would speak at the gathering was to present, long before the start of the synod, a one-page summary of his or her presentation to the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. Copies of those summaries – in whatever language they were written – were delivered to our office. My Spanish language colleague and I then wrote summaries of the interventions and they were translated into the VIS languages. Our daily bulletin was comprised of those summaries, along with the names of the people who delivered them. So we always knew how a prelate or lay person or fraternal delegate or invited guest or head of a curial office thought about an issue.

That was a lot of work for us (and there was a lot of overtime!) but we were able to help people following the synod to understand the daily dynamics and the individual positions of each synod participant.

That is obviously no longer true. One of the best ways now to find who said what and what happened in a General Congregation is via the daily press briefings. Videos of those briefings are posted daily as the press conference is underway.

If you tune in, for example, to and click on the English language, you can listen to the press conference as it takes place via an interpreter.

What was absolutely fascinating about today’s vaticannews summary was that what was probably the most sensational statement in that 1,000 word presentation was the very last sentence: “Finally, among the proposals put forward, was that of thinking about the possibility of a diaconal ordination for women so as to enhance (take advantage of) their ecclesial vocation.”

The following is my translation of the Vatican News story:

“The defense of human rights and the urgency of formation were at the center of the Third General Congregation on Tuesday morning, October 8 of the Special Synod for the Pan-Amazonian Region. The presentation of the interventions on the Instrumentum Laboris continued in the presence of Pope Francis. One hundred and eighty-three (183) Synod Fathers were present.

“The defense of human rights and the drama of the criminalization of leaders, communities and social movements were among the topics examined this morning by the 3rd General Congregation of the Special Synod for the Pan-Amazonian Region. In the Amazon, in fact, the number of martyrs in this area is frightening, so much so that between 2003 and 2017 the indigenous who died defending their territories totalled 1119. Not only: often, social leaders are victims of impunity and insufficient state powers that do not guarantee their safety. In this perspective, it was reiterated that the Church must defend those who struggle to protect their lands by creating, where they do not already exist, specific protection networks or activating at the diocesan level permanent actions of solidarity and the promotion of social justice. The Church’s task, it has been said several times, is to raise the voice against projects that destroy the environment. At the same time, the Synod Fathers highlighted the importance of promoting a more participatory policy and an economy far from the ‘culture of waste’, focusing instead on experiences of alternative economics, such as that of small cooperatives that trade forest products directly, without going through the big producers.

“The fight against predatory extractive models
In the hall, there was also talk of the contamination of the rivers into which the waste from mining activities is often poured, and of deforestation, an increasingly concrete threat in the Amazon due to the massive sale of timber or cultivation of coca, but also favored by weak environmental legislation that does not protect the riches and natural beauty of the area. On this point, the Church has been urged to denounce the distortions (misuse) of predatory, illegal and violent extractive models, and to support the international regulations that protect human, social and environmental rights because the cry of pain from the looted land is the same as the peoples who live there. The defense of original populations was also recalled through the martyrdom of so many missionaries who gave their lives for the indigenous cause and for the protection of those who are exploited and persecuted by threats passed off as ‘development projects’.

“Amazonia, land of migrations
The Synod also reflected on the issue of migrations, those of the indigenous peoples towards big cities, and those of the populations that cross the Amazon to reach other countries of destination. Hence the importance of a specific pastoral care of the Church: It was noted in the hall that the Amazon region as an area of migratory flows is, in fact, an emerging reality, a new missionary front that must be faced in an inter-ecclesial sense. There must be greater collaboration between the local Churches and other organizations involved in the sector. It was also recalled that the drama of migration also affects the youth of Amazonia, forced to leave their countries of origin because they are increasingly threatened by unemployment, violence, trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking, prostitution and exploitation. It is therefore necessary for the Church to recognize, promote, support and strengthen the participation of Amazonia youth in ecclesial, social and political spaces, since young people are ‘prophets of hope’.

“The urgency of training
Thus, the Synod reflected on the importance of a Church of communion that includes the laity more so that their contribution supports ecclesial work. The complexity of contemporary life, in fact, often requires specific skills and knowledge which priests do not always have to answer questions. For this reason, faced with the many challenges of current affairs – including secularism, religious indifference, and the dizzying proliferation of Pentecostal churches – the Church must learn to consult and listen more to the voice of the laity. The enhancement of the role of the laity has returned to the center of reflections, even where there has been talk of the lack of priests and the difficulty, therefore, of bringing the sacrament of the Eucharist to the faithful. It is necessary to go from ‘pastoral care of a visit’ to ‘pastoral care of presence,’ including looking at the new charisms that manifest themselves in lay movements whose potential must be recognized and more deeply studied. For this reason, reaffirming that celibacy is a great gift of the Spirit for the Church, some Synod Fathers asked to think about the priestly consecration of some married men, the so-called ‘viri probati’, then evaluating over time the validity or otherwise of such experience. For some, however, such a proposal could lead the priest to be a simple official of the Mass and not, instead, a pastor of the communities, a master of Christian life, a concrete presence of the closeness of Christ.

“The new paths for ministries
It was noted in the hall that, faced with the urgency of pastors for the evangelization of the Amazon, we need a greater appreciation of consecrated life, but also a strong promotion of indigenous vocations, together with the possibility of choosing ministers authorized to celebrate the Eucharist or to order permanent deacons who, in the form of a team, accompanied by pastors, can administer the Sacraments. Another point of reflection was that of the formation of ordained ministries, conceived on three levels: a widespread formation at the parish level, with reading and meditation on the Word of God; an intensive full-time formation, intended for animators and animators of communities, and a systematic theological formation for candidates for ordained ministries and for men and women who wish to engage in lay ministries. The important thing – this was emphasized – is that the formation of seminarians is re-thought and becomes closer to the life of the communities. Finally, among the proposals put forward, was that of thinking about the possibility of a diaconal ordination for women so as to enhance (take advantage of) their ecclesial vocation.”



The new Japanese emperor Naruhito, took up his post on Wednesday, a day after his father gave up the throne in the country’s first abdication in two centuries.

Former Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stepped down on Tuesday after three decades as the nation’s top royals in a brief, simple ceremony, with Akihito thanking the people of Japan and saying he prayed for peace.

Pope Francis sent a congratulatory telegram to Emperor Naruhito, assuring the 59-year old Japanese head of state his prayers and divine blessing on the imperial family and the nation:

His Imperial Majesty
Emperor of Japan

I extend to Your Majesty my cordial greetings and best wishes on the occasion of your solemn accession to the throne, and I assure you of my prayers that you may be endowed always with the gifts of wisdom and strength in your dedicated service to the nation. Upon you, the Members of the Imperial Family and all the people of Japan, I invoke the divine blessings of peace and well-being. FRANCISCUS PP.


Pope Francis addressed some 50 members of the Vatican’s Pontifical
Academy of Social Sciences, who are discussing the theme, “Nation,
State, Nation-State”, during their plenary assembly, May 1-3.

By Robin Gomes (Vaticannews)
Pope Francis on Thursday expressed concern over the re-emergence of
aggressive feelings against foreigners, especially immigrants, as well
as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good, saying such
trends compromise international cooperation, mutual respect and the
sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Speaking to some 50 members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of
Social Sciences, the Holy Father also expressed fears over the growing
threat of nuclear confrontation that risks cancelling the progress of
the recent past and multiplies the risk of war.

The Pope spoke to the Pontifical Academy in the light of its May 1-3
plenary assembly on “Nation, State, Nation-State”, in the backdrop of
a growing trend in exclusivist nationalism.

Migration and conflictual nationalism
The Pope pointed out that the Church has always urged the love of
one’s own people and country while respecting the various cultures,
customs and habits of other peoples. At the same time it has warned
against deviations in this attachment that result in excluding and
hating others when it becomes “conflictual nationalism that raises
walls, even racism or anti-Semitism.”

He noted that, too often, states are subservient to the interests of a
dominant group, mostly for reasons of economic profit, which oppresses
the ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities who are in their

On the contrary, the Pope pointed out, “the way in which a nation
welcomes migrants reveals its vision of human dignity and its
relationship with humanity.”

He urged that a person or a family, forced to leave their own land, be
welcomed with humanity. In this regard he repeated his 4-verb formula
of how to receive a migrant, namely: welcoming, protecting, promoting
and integrating.

While stressing that the migrant is not a threat to the culture,
customs and values of the host nation, the migrant also has a duty to
integrate into the receiving nation, enriching the host while
maintaining his identity.

Pope Francis pointed out that migration is a permanent feature of
human history, and all nations are the result of the integration of
successive waves of people or groups of migrants, who while being
images of the diversity of humanity, are united by common values,
cultural resources and healthy customs.

“A state that arouses the nationalistic feelings of its own people
against other nations or groups of people would fail in its mission,”
he warned, adding history proves where such deviations lead to.

Speaking about the nation-state, the Pope said it cannot be regarded
as absolute and an island in relation to its surroundings and on its
own; it cannot provide its people with the common good and meet the
great contemporary challenges of climate change, new slavery and

The cooperative vision among nations, the Pope said, requires the
relaunching of multilateralism, which is opposed to new nationalistic
impulses and hegemonic policy.

“Humanity would thus avoid the threat of recourse to armed conflicts
whenever a dispute arises between nation-states, as well as evading
the danger of economic and ideological colonization of the
superpowers, avoiding the overwhelming of the strongest over the
weakest, paying attention to the global dimension without losing sight
of the local, national and regional dimensions.”

As opposed to a globalization that levels differences and suffocates
localization and leads to the re-emergence of nationalism and
hegemonic imperialism, the Pope called for a “multifaceted” form of
globalization based on mutual recognition between the collective
identity of each people, nation and globalization itself, which leads
to a general state of peace and harmony.

The multilateral bodies, the Pope said, have been created in the hope
of being able to replace the logic of revenge, domination, oppression
and conflict with that of dialogue, mediation, compromise, harmony and
the awareness of belonging to the same humanity in the common home.

On the other hand, the growing hegemony of powers and interest groups
that impose their own visions and ideas, as well as new forms of
ideological colonization, often disregarding the identity, customs and
habits, dignity and sensitivity of the peoples concerned. The
emergence of such tendencies is weakening the multilateral system,
with the result of a lack of credibility in international politics and
a progressive marginalization of the most vulnerable members of the
family of nations.

Nuclear threat
Pope Francis lamented that today the season of multilateral nuclear
disarmament seems outdated and no longer stirs the political
conscience of nations that possess atomic weapons. On the contrary, he
said, a new season of worrying nuclear confrontation seems to be
opening, because it cancels the progress of the recent past and
multiplies the risk of war.

If the offensive and defensive nuclear arms will now be placed on
earth and space, the Pope warned, the so-called new technical frontier
will have raised and not lowered the danger of a nuclear holocaust.

The Pope concluded urging the members of the Pontifical Academy of
Social Sciences to help him spread the awareness of a renewed
international solidarity with respect for human dignity, the common
good, respect for the planet and the supreme good of peace.