After a busy weekend, as you’ve seen from my various posts, the final week of the Amazon synod began this morning with the 14th General Congregation. Below is my translation of an Italian language summary of the morning’s work.

In synod-related news, a video surfaced early this morning showing perpetrators taking statues from a church near the Vatican and throwing them in the Tiber River. The stolen statues depicted an amazonian figure that has featured prominently in recent days at the synod – a naked, pregnant female whom no one at the synod has clearly said this represents.

Of the scores of bishops and laity present at the synod, many of whom are natives of the Amazon region, there is great perplexity as to why no one can say who this statue is or represents! One bishop did say it was not the Virgin Mary. Lovely! That selfie video was posted on Youtube and has gone viral. I reposted on this page.

In non-synod news today, Pope Francis sent a video message of congratulations to the International Christian Maritime Association for its 50th anniversary as it participates in the October 21 to 25 11th World Conference in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Francis said the anniversary “gives me the opportunity to encourage you to continue, with renewed ecumenical spirit, your service to people of the sea. … Help the people of the sea to know Jesus Christ and to live according to His teachings, with respect and in mutual welcome.”


Vatican News – Vatican City

Presentation of the draft of the Final Document.
In the presence of Pope Francis, the 14th General Congregation of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region was held this morning, Monday, October 21. 184 the Synod Fathers present in the hall on Monday. The synod ends October 27.

It was the Relator General, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo and president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), who presented the draft of the final document of the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazon region in the synod hall. The text, which gathers the fruits of the interventions presented during the congregations, will now be turned over to the small language groups for developing (laying out) the “collective ways.”

The program for coming days.
On Wednesday and Thursday, these amendments will be included in the final Document by the General Rapporteur and the Special Secretaries, with the help of the Experts. Therefore, the text will be reviewed by the Commission for Editing and then read in the hall Friday afternoon, during the 15th General Congregation. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, the 16th General Congregation will vote on the Final Document.

The homily of Monsignor Cabrejos Vidarte.
At the opening of today’s Congregation, the customary prayer of the Third Hour was said. The homily was given by Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo and president of CELAM, who urged us to look at the example of St. Francis and the “Canticle of the Creatures.” “For Francis,” he emphasized, “beauty is not a question of aesthetics, but of love, of fraternity at all costs, of grace at all costs.” The Saint of Assisi, he added, “embraces all creatures with a love and devotion never seen before, speaking to them of the Lord and exhorting them to praise Him. In this sense, Francis becomes the inventor of medieval sentiment for nature.”

Knowing, recognizing and giving back.
The president of CELAM said that knowing, recognizing and giving back are the three verbs that articulate the “rhythm” of the spiritual journey of the Poor One of Assisi, that is, knowing the Supreme Good, recognizing its benefits and giving back in praise. If for St. Francis, in fact, sin is an appropriation “not only of the will, but also of the goods” that the Lord works in human beings, praise, on the contrary, means restitution. “The human being,” Abp. Cabejos Vidarte confirmed, “cannot praise God as it should, since sin has wounded his sonship” with the Lord.

God, the Father of all and of all things.
Thus it will be the creatures, as St. Francis affirms in his “Canticle to Creatures,” who will carry out the work of mediation to bring praise to God. In fact, they fill the void of the human being who, because of sin, lacks a voice worthy of praising the Creator.” “St. Francis discovers in God the place of Creation,” concluded the bishop, “and returns Creation to God, because he sees in it not only the Father of all, but also the Father of all things.” The morning’s work closed with a special guest who focused on the topic of integral ecology, in particular in relation to climate change.