A very important issue is reverberating in the media and social networks: infanticide in certain indigenous tribes that belies the idyllic “paradise” propagated by the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, CIMI, and high-ranking promoters of the Amazon Synod.
This Question Checkmates the Synod
In a press conference on the Amazon Synod on October 8, Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi posed the unwanted question (about indigenous infanticide): “One of the leitmotifs of this Synod is to present indigenous peoples as if they lived on the Earthly Paradise before original sin.” They praise their “original purity” and “a harmonious relationship with nature,” saying that “we should learn from them to live with the environment.”
However, “about twenty of these Amazonian indigenous peoples continue to practice infanticide today. A piece of news posted on the site of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference (CIMI) justifies this practice (infanticide).”
He concludes: “I ask you whether human rights have universal value or are valid only for some and not for others.”
The UN Rapporteur and Cardinal Barreto Jiménez
Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, acknowledged that “not all indigenous, original peoples, are perfect.” “Some have practices that are not consistent with human rights.”
Therefore, we conclude, the promoters of the Synod are concealing this important point: “Some have practices that are not consistent with human rights.”
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Then spoke Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jiménez, SJ, Archbishop of Huancayo, Vice-President of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), and co-President of the Synod: “Not all are roses among indigenous peoples,” and one cannot speak of “original purity because it means to ignore human nature.” However, he goes on to praise what he considers the indigenous peoples’ “ancient wisdom.” (1)
Cardinal Barreto is uninformed and contradictory
Cardinal Barreto: “I have never heard of this” (infanticide) … whoever makes such statements has to present documentary evidence.”
After saying that life must always be defended, he adds, “I was evangelized by the Indians, and they continue evangelizing me.”
At the end of the press conference, Cardinal Barreto refused to admit that a site of the Catholic Church in Brazil (run by the Indigenous Missionary Council-CIMI, an agency of the Bishops’ Conference) had posted an article defending infanticide among indigenous people.
CIMI removes the “documentary evidence” from its site, but it had been copied
CIMI quickly deleted from its website the text quoted by Rusconi (paragraph 2, below). However, this news had already been copied.
The “documentary evidence” required by Cardinal Barreto came the following day, as Giuseppe Rusconi published the four points on his blog, “Rossoporpora.” Summarizing:
1 – The Brazilian Congress debated bill PL 1057/2007, by Congressman Henrique Afonso to prohibit the practice of infanticide among indigenous peoples. The proposal was approved on August 26, 2015, with 361 votes in favor and 84 against. It is now being examined in the Senate.
2 – Rita Laura Segato, of the University of Brasilia, is one of the leading anthropologists opposing PL 1057/2007 (above). Her speech at the House of Representatives’ Human Rights Commission could be read on the CIMI website until it was taken off.
Title of anthropologist Segato’s speech: “Let each people draw the threads of their history.”
“What state today pretends to legislate on about how indigenous peoples must preserve their children? What authority does such a state have?” she stated.
3 – Sociologist and anthropologist Giuseppe Bonazzi, during a visit to the Consolata Missionaries among the Yanomami population, verified that infanticide is practiced among some indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Interviewed by Rome’s La Repubblica of November 16, 2010, Bonazzi said, “Among these people, the most fragile newborns or those whose mothers cannot pay enough attention to them because they are busy with children born earlier, are refused and die.”
4 – “Indigenous infanticide” is the subject of numerous comments on the Brazilian legal website “Jus.”
The introduction of a speech in October 2107, for example, reads, “The traditional practice of ‘indigenous infanticide’ consists of the homicide of unwanted babies by the group, and is common to different Brazilian tribes.”
The speech concludes: “In no way can the right to cultural diversity legitimize the violation of the right to life. Therefore, any attempt to justify the practice of infanticide cannot be supported by any international law.”
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The Amazon Synod is in check: will it revise its base document on the idyllic ‘paradise’ of indigenous peoples and their life in harmony with nature (practicing infanticide)?
Will the Synod reiterate the truths of the Catholic Faith and obey the mandate of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Go ye and evangelize all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?”
This is the wish of the Catholic world; this is what we pray for. May Our Lady Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, whose feast we celebrated on October 12, really make Brazil the Land of the Holy Cross and give the indigenous religious, moral, and civilizing conditions contribute to the providential mission of Brazil.
Translated by the staff of Pan-Amazon Synod-Watch.
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