Paul Francis on Saturday night closed the Amazon synod with a call to end the “plundering of the Amazon basin”. For two weeks, Roman Catholic bishops gathered in the Vatican to discuss the presence and the role of the church in the region.
The Amazon forest has been suffering with deforestation for decades, but since Bolsonaro took over as president of Brazil, rates of deforestation have reached record levels, which led to record numbers of fires as well, with tragic consequences on wildlife and the climate.
According to this Reuters report, the assembly produced a final document with a proposal allowing married men to be ordained as priests to work in the remote regions of the Amazon, a proposal that would would represent a paradigm shift in the tradition of celibacy that goes back centuries.
The synod also focused on environmental protection and respect for the indigenous peoples who live in the forests. A delegation of indigenous people kicked off an European awareness tour at the synod.
“They despise their traditions, erase their history, occupy their lands, and usurp their goods. How much alleged superiority, transformed into oppression and exploitation, exists even today!” Pope Francis said in a clear reference to the neoliberal assault on natural resources.
The bishops at the synod discussed the concept of “ecological sin” of harming the environment and the introduction of specific ministries to care for nature.