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Ecofeminist Theology and the Amazon Synod’s Theological Assumptions

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242379For a better understanding of the principles that animate the currents seeking to use the next Synod to promote a “Church with an Amazonian face,” we will address a self-entitled “ecofeminist theology” which permeates the already known proposals that will be presented at the synod.

However, before presenting the main tenets of the neo ecofeminist revolution, we deem it important to recall some key points of Catholic doctrine so the reader can safely evaluate how it is diametrically opposed to these new ‘theological’ teachings.

The Catechism teaches us that God created heaven and Earth and made man in his “image and likeness”. Endowed with a spiritual soul and with reason, through the contemplation of other creatures, man is able to know, love and serve God in this life to enjoy eternally His presence in Heaven.

There is therefore an absolute otherness between God the Creator and His creation. While in the latter we can find images of divine perfection, God is pure spirit, transcendent and perfect. He is in all created beings as the artist is in all his works of art; they do not get confused with the author.

St. Thomas AquinasSecondly, God created beings in a hierarchical way. The highest degree of this hierarchy is occupied by angels, immortal beings endowed with pure spirit. St. Thomas teaches that, “The angelic nature occupies the middle place between the divine and the corporeal,”[1] that is, between God and men. Man is the most perfect creature endowed with a body; having been created in His image and likeness, man alone has an immortal spirit and an eternal end. For this reason, Genesis teaches that man was given “dominion” over nature from the beginning (though not in an absolute way) so that he could perfect it according to the model of the Creator.

Hence, in all times and places, man faces the adversities of nature and of his own contingency to seek progress in his existence. Cultures and civilizations were formed in all historical epochs impelled by this upright and natural desire for progress.

These cultures and civilizations were able to prosper to the extent that they respected the natural order and decayed to the extent they departed from the laws that God imprinted on people’s hearts.

Therefore, man’s principal norm of behavior on this Earth is to practice good and reject evil in all its manifestations. This is perfectly codified in the Ten Commandments of the Law of God as enunciated in the Old Testament and are assumed and perfected in Christian Revelation.

In order to rescue the human race from the sin of our first Parents, God Our Lord became incarnate in the pure bosom of the Virgin Mary, died on the cross, and rose again on the third day. Thus, with the infinite value of his precious blood He opened the gates of heaven and bought us eternal life.

So that this grace of redemption could reach all men, Our Lord founded the Holy Catholic Church – Mystical Body of Christ – establishing Peter as head of the Apostolic College with the mission of “teaching, governing and sanctifying” the faithful. For this mission He created the sacrament of Holy Orders, to which he called only men.

To women He primarily reserved the role of wife and mother in the temporal order and virgin and spouse of Christ in the spiritual order. While they participate in the same dignity as men, God called both sexes to fulfill different missions and responsibilities in society.

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Synthesis of the ecofeminist theses ([2])

As we will see, a theological current called “ecofeminism” denies all these fundamental truths of the Faith. Embedded within the Catholic Church, this current gradually “deconstructs,” one by one, the teachings of Revelation and Tradition.

According to their own statements, these theologians began their journey with liberation theology and engaged in the political-social activism of the “Basic Ecclesial Communities”. However, they are not entirely satisfied with this theology, which they deem too “machista” [male chauvinist].

They claim that liberation theology failed to apply to women the same hermeneutics as to the poor and exploited. In their view, women were subject to the longest oppression by “patriarchal” society (first by the Jewish religion of the Old Testament, and later by Christianity).

Always according to this theory, the second most oppressed subject in history is nature itself. Having sought to “dominate” the earth, man has exploited it without minding that it is the source of life and energy of all beings. This premise, which does not lack a dose of truth, is inflated to claim that in the immense living tissue that is the cosmos, men are nothing more than a mere component in permanent evolution.

In order to save both women and nature from their permanent submission, one must begin by “deconstructing” all the myths and beliefs that patriarchal society (the Sacred Scriptures and Catholic doctrine) have instilled in humanity from Genesis until now.

Naturally, women are those called to this urgent task because they possess in their own bodies the secrets of wisdom and fecundity of the Earth. By allowing themselves to be carried away by this magical intuition of their nature, and by entering into harmony with the ecosystem, they will save the Earth and humanity.

To achieve this goal, women must “empower themselves” (seize power) but not with the “power upon” characteristic of men’s logic, but with a “power from” or a “power with.”

In other words, this is not about seeking to compete with men in the “power” positions they hold. Women’s “empowerment” must begin in their own bodies, which carry the memory of millennia of violence and oppression. The woman’s body is the vital center from which all the theological consequences of ecofeminism must depart.[3]

In this way, we will reach an androgynous society in which there will be no sexes or dualities and where all beings, living and dead will coexist, respecting the forgotten norms of the mother goddess, nature.

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Some may think that such aberrations can only occur in poor misguided minds who reached those conclusions from reading too much sophistry. But what would you say if you knew this doctrine is being taught by nuns from Chile and Latin America, that this current has a vast network of international contacts and publications that reach convents and are studied and practiced in “retreats” throughout the world?

This is what we will show from the analysis published by the Chilean association Acción Familia in the book, From Liberation Theology to Ecofeminist Theology – A Revolution Entrenched in the Church.

In it, we can find the keys to help us understand the profound revolution they intend to propose to the whole Church at the coming synod.

Excerpts from the book, Desde la Teología de la Liberación a la Teología ecofeminista. Una revolución enquistada en la Iglesia. Download in Spanish here.

[1] Summa Theologiae – Part Ia – Question 61. On the making of angels in their natural being.

[2] “Ecofeminism as a concept was first named in the late 1970s by Françoise D’eaubonne, a French sociologist who defines it as the critique of modernity from feminism and environmentalism, establishing the ideological connection that exists between the exploitation of Nature and that of women within the hierarchical-patriarchal system. Modernity begins with the order imposed by the witch hunt, that complicity perpetrated between religious, political and academic power where the role of women in the family or convent, and that of Nature, are redefined, dominated by the scientific spirit of Men. That is why women, like indigenous people and blacks, become ‘nature’, being left out of ‘culture’” http://www.nodo50.org/mujerescreativas/ECOFEMINISMO.htm.

[3] “The philosophy of empowerment has its origin in the popular education approach developed from Paulo Freire’s work in the 60s, both of which are closely linked to the so-called participatory approaches, present in the field of development since the 70s. Although empowerment is applicable to all vulnerable or marginalized groups, its birth and its greatest theoretical development has been in relation to women. Its application to them was proposed for the first time in the mid-1980s by DAWN (1985), a network of women’s groups and researchers from the South and the North, to refer to the process by which women access control of resources (material and symbolic) and reinforce their capabilities and protagonism in all areas. From its feminist approach, the empowerment of women includes both individual change and collective action and involves a radical alteration of the processes and structures that reproduce the subordinate position of women as a gender” (Cf. http://mujerespoder.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html)

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