The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region is scheduled to take place in Rome from October 6-27, 2019, on the theme, “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.”
In recent weeks, the world has watched with shock and sadness the images of the Amazon forest burning in Brazil and Bolivia. These fires are devastating to the indigenous people who live in the forest, to the diverse animal and plant life within the forest, and to the vast Amazonian ecosystem which helps regulate our planet’s climate. In addition, the carbon dioxide released by the fires contributes to the growing climate emergency.
This is why it is especially urgent and prescient that Pope Francis has called for a Synod on the Amazon. Announced two years ago, this Synod will address some of the driving forces of the fires in addition to other topics of great importance to the Amazonian peoples, ecosystem, and the Church.
- allow for the priestly ordination of married men on a regional basis in order to address a lack of ministers across the nine-nation region
- reopen the study commission on the ordination of women as deacons -- At the end of the vote, Pope Francis said he will reconvene the commission
- adopt a definition of ecological sin as "a sin against future generations that manifests itself in acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the environmental harmony"
- divest the church in the Amazon from extractive industries that cause socio-ecological harm to the earth and indigenous communities
The Synod on the Amazon website contains the Preparatory Document, the Working Document, the Invitation List, and much more. The Synod website will be regularly updated and the main speeches and press briefings will be uploaded there.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns offers analysis of the working document in our article "Synod on the Amazon: What to Expect."
Read our press statement in support of the Synod on the Amazon.
What is a Synod? And why focus on the Amazon?
Download and share this one-page backgrounder developed by the Religious Working Group on Extractive Industries (of which MOGC is a member organization).
Learn about the Issues
Download and share our series of two-page bulletins called One Amazon, Many Voices to help people of faith understand the issues that will be discussed at the Synod – from indigenous knowledge to destructive mining projects. We also feature voices of Maryknoll missioners and prayer and reflection. We hope the bulletins will be a useful tool for learning, reflection, and action by readers.
The Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission recently held a conference in Rome on the impact of mining activities on the environment and human rights and the role of church organizations. This was held in the spirit of the Synod on the Amazon. They have released a statement following the gathering.
Learn from Maryknoll Missioners
Read about the fires buring in the Amazon as experienced by Claire Stewart, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in São Paolo, Brazil.
Read about the importance of the Amazon as a source of water for the planet in this article written by Flavio Jose Rocha, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in João Pessoa, Brazil.
Watch these videos from Catholic News Service on issues affecting the Amazon as reported by Barbara Fraser, a former Maryknoll Lay Missioner and journalist based in Peru.
Special Focus: Voices of Women
Maryknoll Lay Missioner Kathy Bond in in João Pessoa, Brazil, interviewed indigenous women and women invited to participate in the Synod and wrote the following articles:
More to come...