If you follow the daily press conferences of the Amazon synod, you will hear the same tune every time: new ways, listening to the indigenous population, climate change and Mother Earth. It seems that the fundamental problems just don’t want to be mentioned. In this respect, this synod is very similar to the Youth Synod (October 2018).
Is there a shortage of priests in the Amazon? Yes there is. But that is the case in many areas (Africa, China, Middle East). But that is not the actual issue. Meanwhile, the mantras are repeated daily and the Catholic vocabulary is almost completely missing. The bishops and cardinals discuss the environment, the rise in sea level, and that we should above all listen. They talk like politicians: the same slogans, the same cheap rhetoric. Strange that at a synod this kind of thing is the subject of discussion. It is not the specialty of the Church, it is not our core business and our perspective. We apparently want to be relevant, which is at the expense of our identity. You cannot draw that anywhere from the used lexicon, jargon and vocabulary. Occasionally it seems as if you are watching the TV Kantine. Our vocabulary once consisted of words such as our Mother the Church, the fire of hell and the virtues, now it is about Mother Earth, Amazon fires and ecology. The views differ in no way from political parties and action groups.
And another thing: missionaries are suddenly portrayed as imperialists who have imposed their values on the indigenous peoples. Have these missionaries meant nothing to the indigenous people? They risked their lives to preach the gospel. How many martyrs are there? They went into the jungle to follow Jesus’ command to preach the gospel to the ends of the world. The missionaries realized all too well that they first had to meet the physical needs of the Amazon population. They have fought poverty, built hospitals, built schools. This attitude led to people becoming curious about what they actually had to say. These missionaries knew that God does not speak through trees (some synod participants speak different about this), and that sacrificing children is something horrible. They showed indigenous people a way out of darkness and fear, and offered them access to the sacraments. And now suggesting that missionaries were not concerned about the welfare of the people, but were driven by imperialist motives and self-interest, is really bizarre. Just as bizarre is that we have suddenly seen the light and realize that it is about something completely different: Mother Earth, global warming, CO2.
All this has nothing to do with compassion for indigenous tribes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Amazon Synod is being misused to push through a hidden agenda. Celibacy would be incomprehensible to indigenous men and for that reason we introduce the married priesthood. Strange, after all, for more than a thousand years, people of all ages, races, and cultures have accepted celibacy, and the Amazon peoples could not grasp this? Are they too stupid for that? Is that what is suggested? What kind of weird discrimination is this? Of course, a plea is immediately made to also open the priesthood to women. And all of this to give people more opportunity to participate in the Eucharist. Is that right? What about Japan where they had not seen a priest for 250 years and could not celebrate Holy Mass. After 250 years, people were surprised about the vitality of Japanese Christians. The catechists had done an excellent job there. No one came up with the idea of admitting married men or women to the priesthood. It is therefore not the Catholics from the Amazon who ask for this, but Western cardinals and bishops. Why do they act as if the people of the Amazon all live in the jungle and worship trees. Eighty (80!) Percent of the indigenous population lives in large cities, just like you and me. And just like you and I, they wear jeans and T-shirts and no grass skirts.
If your heart really goes out to the Amazon you tell the truth, namely that you are saved by Jesus Christ. For that reason you preach the gospel to the full. The call to repentance and the proclamation of forgiveness, is this not the summary of the entire Bible? But the word “sin” has not crossed anyone’s lips; therefore neither forgiveness and mercy. Yes, once it was mentioned: sin against Mother Earth. The environment is considered more important. It fits in perfectly with the core concepts of new theology: integral ecology, diversity, synodality, building bridges, global warming, new ways, change and that kind of nuisance. This synod is truly the most politically correct gathering of all time. It is a surprise that Greta Thurnberg has not yet been elected cardinal. Is anyone else concerned about saving souls? Is that not the reason that Christ has undergone the death on the cross?
If sacraments, sin, justification and hell are no longer relevant, why should you still keep a synod at all? If the church has apparently been wrong for 2,000 years – that impression is being created – why would the listeners at all listen to the views of the Church on ecology or whatever. What does the Church intend to do about the rise in sea level and co2 emissions? In my opinion, voting women to become priests does not really help. It appears once again that one thing has nothing to do with the other, but at all costs it must and will be implemented. By the way, when the water level rose in Noah’s time, it didn’t turn out so badly.
Everyone knows that global warming is not the real problem of the Amazon, but – if we are not talking about Jesus – drugs and related drug gangs, drug wars, countless drug victims are the problems. Why don’t we listen to drug victims and drug addicts. That is a much bigger problem. In South America, an estimated six million children are the victims of abortion. This too is a much bigger problem than global warming. A synod about this problem would not be much appropriate.
Finally, the press conference last Friday (18/10). Sister Daniela Adriana Cannavina stated that the arrival of female deacons is likely to be one of the results of the synod. Subsequently, Archbishop Rino Fisichella stated that pagan input may be expected in the new evangelization, so that “the indigenous people can express their faith according to their customs and thus give the Church an Amazonian face.” And to top it off, the introduction of a new rite was also announced: the Amazon rite. Which includes pagan elements. In short, Pandora’s Box is wide open. That is evident from the words of Bishop Mario Antonio da Silva that, oh yes, that is true, we need priests, so (so?!?) we will look at the possibility of married priests to add that this synod should not be considered as a synod limited to the Amazon, but has consequences worldwide.
The closing words of da Silva summarize it nicely. He considers the synod “an opportunity to get in touch with life, forests, water, animals, minerals, but especially communities that are filled with wisdom” (quote from Vatican website). Even Luther and Calvin would be shocked by this nonsense. Because that’s it. And the pope watches…
Mgr. Rob Mutsaerts is auxiliary bishop of Den Bosch.
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