From the Amazon to the drama of migrations

With the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Dear Amazonia, Pope Francis delivers to the whole Church the fruits of the October Synod and invites to an evangelizing renewal that starts from the peripheries and the poor.

Giovanni Tridente-March 5, 2020-Reading time: 5 minutes

He had promised it by the end of the year (2019) and Pope Francis has kept his word. On December 27, in fact, he completed the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Dear AmazoniaThe document was finally signed on February 2 of this year, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, due to the technicalities of the revisions and translations. It is a document born from the heart of the Pontiff, as a fruit of his experience of the synodal work of last October, in which he participated with attentive spirit and great availability.

He now delivers to the whole Church these "resonances" which - he writes - are not intended to replace or repeat the final Document - which he invites you to read in its entirety anyway - but rather "enrich and challenge". to the ecclesial community itself, starting from the Amazonian periphery. 111 points, 4 chapters and a very beautiful final prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary, which serve as a framework for 4 great "dreams for the Amazon". (5-7): rights of the poor, cultural richness, natural beauty and incarnated evangelizing commitment.



During the Angelus in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis convenes the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region.

It is a text that belongs to the ordinary magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff and must be read and meditated upon in its entirety. The "social dream" is a great closeness to the oppressed, which the Pope identifies in the original peoples, often victims of "submission" by local and international powers. In the face of these injustices, it is obligatory "be outraged and ask for forgiveness" (15-19) and at the same time to constitute "solidarity and development networks"..

The "cultural dream". focuses on the custody of roots (33-35), avoiding the homogenization of cultures, but stressing the fact that diversity must become "a bridge"always assuming "the peoples' rights perspective"..

The third dream is the "ecological", that makes you think of Laudato si', in the awareness that care for the environment and care for the poor are inseparable. At the global level, the following must not be overlooked "the cry of the Amazon". (47-52), given that the planetary balance depends precisely on the health of those lands.

Finally, the "ecclesial dream".The report, dedicated more specifically to pastors and the Catholic faithful, from which emerges a "great missionary announcement". (61) which is indispensable for Amazonia but can also set in motion a process of greater scope. Here, evidently, the Pope desires greater access to the Sacraments, especially for the poor, and imagines a greater missionary presence from other lands, as well as a renewed protagonism of the laity and new spaces for women.

The voice of the Special Secretary

In the long interview granted to Palabra in the January issue, Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny, who was Special Secretary of the Synod on the Amazon, had appreciated the many fruits and the great richness of the final Document. "But perhaps I can underline the experience of synodalityto walk together. To feel the peace and consolation that came from the experience of feeling guided by the Spirit and recognizing so many gifts, to feel the call to respond to a particular reality and to respond together, yes, to the cry of the earth and of our brothers and sisters".he added on that occasion. 



The Synod is being held at the Vatican with the participation of 185 Synod Fathers, 25 experts, 55 auditors and 16 representatives of various indigenous ethnic groups.

Talking to Vatican News just after the publication of the exhortation, has recognized how the heart of the Pope's document is his love for the Amazon and the consequences of such love: "An overturning of the common way of thinking about the relationship between wealth and poverty, between development and protection, between the defense of cultural roots and openness to the other.".

Diplomats on mission

Another desire that the Holy Father had expressed at the end of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region is the one he put in writing a few days ago, expressly asking the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Bishop Joseph Marino, to make it operative from the next academic year. We are talking about the insertion in the curriculum of formation for priests who are candidates for the diplomatic service of the Holy See of "a year of missionary commitment in a diocese of the Particular Churches".so that they can be trained in "in apostolic zeal to go to frontier territories outside their dioceses of origin"..

This wish that is now coming true is also in the same line as point 90 of Dear Amazonia, where the bishops are exhorted to be generous in directing precisely to the Amazon those who show a missionary vocation. In his impromptu speech at the conclusion of the Synod, on the other hand, Pope Francis had emphasized the fact that "in the non-Amazonian zone, with respect to the Amazonian zone".there is a large "lack of apostolic zeal in the clergy." since many priests are sent to the more developed countries of the United States or Europe instead of those where there is an urgent need. Those "more remote places"as it is said in Dear Amazonia 89, where it is difficult to ensure priestly ministry.

Evidently, the Pontiff's decision is not only limited to the Amazonian lands, but he wants to affect all the countries of the world. "growing challenges for the Church and for the world." which refer, for example, to a Europe in strong decline from the point of view of Christianity, to Africa, "thirsty for reconciliation"to Latin America "hungry for nourishment and interiority."North America, which must recover an identity that is not based on exclusion, and Asia and Oceania, where the influence of the "of ancestral cultures"..

Together with a solid priestly and pastoral formation, Francis wants to guarantee to the future diplomats - his representatives far from Rome - a personal experience of mission walking alongside these "distant" communities. He is convinced that this initiative will also be of mutual benefit to the various local Churches, as well as arousing in other priests the desire to make themselves available as missionaries outside their own diocese, perhaps even in Amazonia. 

Next Synod in 2022

At the beginning of February, the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops met and proposed to the Pope a list of possible topics to be discussed at the next Ordinary General Assembly. On this occasion, the Pontiff decided to convene it for the autumn of 2022, so as to encourage greater involvement of the whole Church in the preparation and celebration of this new Synod, also considering that all the dynamisms born from the last assemblies on young people - with the exhortation Christus vivit- and about the Amazon.

Also at that meeting the Council, which is composed of 16 members, who are cardinals and bishops from all over the world elected by the Synod Fathers at the 2018 assembly and always presided over by the Pontiff, wanted to spread a message on the consequences of the migratory phenomenon affecting many regions of the planet, linked above all to wars, economic inequalities, persecutions, terrorism and ecological crises.



On the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Pope Francis signs in St. John Lateran the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Dear Amazonia, which he delivers to the whole Church.

Faced with the disorientation of individuals, the destruction of families and the trauma of young people who are victims of all kinds of abuse, the Synod Council wished to recall that the Church "deplores the reasons causing such a massive movement of people."while "is called to offer comfort, consolation". to those who are suffering. 

Resettling refugees

A few days apart, three cardinals have addressed a letter to the bishops' conferences of the entire European Union, with an appeal to relocate in the various European countries the refugees present on the Greek island of Lesbos, which Pope Francis visited in 2016. The missive - signed by Cardinals Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community; Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development; and Konrad Krajewski, Almsgiver of His Holiness - also specifies the procedures that can be followed with the help of the Community of Sant'Egidio, with the now famous. "humanitarian corridors".

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