Hopeful Highlights of the Synod

Many articles and reflections are being written regarding the Synod of the Amazonia, so you might be swamped by so much information, but from my part, here are a few words to the Society.  I am in Rome with the group of Amerindia, which is a network of theologians in Latin America. We are outside of the Vatican walls. I will just share a few hopeful signs:

  • The preparation was highly participatory and the document is good.

  • The periphery is at the center, which is what Jesus did, for example, when he put the man with paralysis in the center for everyone to see.

  • A specific biome and territory is the start and reference point, a social and humanitarian situation which concerns all.

  • The bishops of the Pan Amazonia are in general pastors concerned with the well-being of the people, especially the most vulnerable, which is the case of the indigenous people.  They are concerned with the real threat of their extinction. The word genocide is mentioned. 

  • The Pope is certainly a reason for hope.  He leads with an atmosphere of freedom, of equality, and listens very carefully to the voices of the women.  He wants to move forward but he needs to have concrete proposals that are supported by a majority in order to do so.

  • Different themes have emerged but it is hopeful to affirm that the synod is trying to bring together three aspects in a transversal way: amazon biome, intercultural biome and ecclesial biome. Only a post-colonial church will be able to take on the challenges of ecology and of a diversity of cultures always under threat. Otherwise, we will have bits and pieces, but the model remains the same. The key is to respond to the needs of people and of nature. The central issue must be real service to the people and to protect nature; not to do so is to have a “renewed” face while continuing to be a self-centered church.

  • Women’s ministries in this post-colonial church are a matter of high importance. First to include and recognize what they have always done and also to include them in decision making... Only if there is a change in the clerical and self-referenced model will it be believable and transformative.  

  • From a concrete reality to a global one, different than the two other synods of families and young people.

Something is in the air... seeking something new.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit?

Socorro Martinez rscj