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The Pan-Amazon Synod and Vatican Contradictions: Yes to China, No to Brazil

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The contradictions of Vatican policy become more pronounced as the Pan-Amazon Synod draws near.

As the Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo reported, “The Vatican has vetoed the participation of incumbent politicians in the Synod, denying a request by the Brazilian government, which is the main interested party in the discussions as most of the Amazonian territory belongs to Brazil.”

This attitude is entirely opposed to the one the Vatican adopted toward the communist government of Beijing. In September 2018, the Vatican signed with it a “Provisional Agreement,” the clauses of which are secret, but which enables Beijing (i.e., the Chinese CP) to choose the bishops for the Vatican to approve later. The Vatican even accepted communist bishops of the so-called Patriotic Church and confirmed them in the apostolic succession.

Double Standard?

Brazil is a mostly Catholic country. Historically, Brazilians fought the Dutch and French when they tried to establish “Guyanas” and their Protestant creed here.

We never reneged our Faith, never had a hostile attitude toward the Vatican in its missionary drive to evangelize Brazil, and never supported the wicked measures of the Marquis of Pombal against the clergy.

Why is the Vatican – notably in this Amazon Synod – denying Brazil a chance for its government to participate in the October event?

Why not employ the same benevolence shown to Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, a fierce and notorious persecutor of Catholicism in China? Never mind that the destruction of churches, crosses, the arrest of priests and bishops is continuing unabated after the “Interim Agreement.” And the Chinese Communist Party obliges Catholic clergy and faithful to sign a document joining the Patriotic Church.

China Cross burned

What is the Vatican saying to Chinese Catholics and clergy? Confide, be patient!

What is the Vatican telling the Brazilian government? It has vetoed the latter’s participation in the Synod, not even asking for its collaboration.

The Attitude of Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Synod Rapporteur

Under the headline: “Dropping Mask of Impartiality, the Most Rev. Claudio Hummes Participates in Event against Bolsonaro Government,” on September 4, the website FratresInUnum.com comments: “None other than the archbishop emeritus of São Paulo, Cardinal Dom Claudio Hummes, rapporteur of the Pan-Amazonian Synod to be held in Rome in a month, has shown up with dozens of leftist politicians.”

“In an earlier interview with that newspaper, Cardinal Hummes, talking about the controversies between the Amazon Synod and the government, stated, ‘All this began in the election campaign. The government, which calls itself right-wing considers the church to be left-wing. But the church is not a political party. It is not leftist. It does not accept this qualification, this label. The church is for everyone.’” (https://fratresinunum.com/2019/09/04/cai-a-mascara-do-isentismo-dom-claudio-hummes-em-evento-contra-o-governo-bolsonaro/)

Were there any conversations between him as Rapporteur of the Synod and the Brazilian Government to improve relations and undertake a concerted action to restore moral values in our motherland? If there were, Archbishop Hummes has forgotten to report about them.

We expect the Vatican to give Brazil the same treatment and privileges it has bestowed upon the red dictator Xi Jinping.

Church-State Collaboration is a Good in Itself

In this case, the Vatican, the Amazon Synod’s organizers, and Cardinal Hummes manifest an outright rejection of Church teaching on Church-State relations.

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira recalls: “Undoubtedly, it is the Church that possesses the proper means to promote the salvation of souls, but society and the State have instrumental means for the same end, that is, means which, set in motion by a higher agent, produce an effect superior to themselves” (https://www.tfp.org/revolution-and-counter-revolution/).

The State must, through its legislative, executive, and judicial action, organize itself, and organize family, education, labor, and property according to Catholic social doctrine.”

The State must collaborate with the Church all the way by giving her all the resources available to fully carry out her apostolic activity, and in matters where such collaboration would be of no use, to assure her the greatest and broadest freedom of action.” https://www.pliniocorreadeoliveira.info/LEG%20400811_ASRELACOESENTREAIGREJAEOESTADO.htm

We are facing this paradox: The Vatican refuses help from the government of the largest Catholic nation on earth!

Concrete Difficulties in the Amazon Call for Common Action

Few Brazilians are aware of the multiple difficulties that the dense Amazon forest offers. But all of us who have been to the Brazilian Amazon know them well.

What sense does it make for the Vatican to refuse a joint action with the government that would use the latter’s material means for missionary expansion, civilizing, and taking  culture to those peoples?

So the Vatican considers that signing an agreement with the Chinese Communist regime is useful and advantageous for Catholics, and at the same time refuses to collaborate with the government of the largest Catholic nation on earth?

It is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see that current Vatican policymakers harbor undisclosed “reasons” that are also unknown to sound reason!

Our fellow countrymen lack no intuition, sagacity, or common sense – and we are perplexed!

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