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An Ecumenical Ministry in St. Patrick's Catholic Parish

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Amazon Synod with Pastor Carlos

The Amazon Synod on which Catholic news you follow, you probably heard about the recent Amazon Synod in either positive or negative terms. It even made the front page of the Union-Tribune last Sunday. I have had a couple of people approach me with concerns. I asked them: Did you actually read the working document? Often times we base our opinion solely on someone else’s opinion without reading the primary document.

Rather than falling into an either/or mentality of seeing everything in black and white terms, which tends to exacerbate division, one can both affirm what is good in something and at the same time, question what might seem concerning.

Here’s what I would affirm in Instrumentum Laboris, the document of the Synod: The theological reflection of sin as not only personal, but also social and structural goes very much in line with the social encyclicals of St Paul II, such as Centessimus Annus. In that encyclical, Pope St Paul II called for an authentic "human ecology" of moral structures based on the essential dignity of human life.

Now, here are some suggestions the document makes that concern me:

The reconsideration of jurisdiction of ordained ministers: This is a very difficult and complicated legal matter, to which the document provides no light as to how it would work.

The recognition of “indigenous spirituality as a source of richness for the Christian experience.” While Catholic missionaries throughout history have incorporated elements of peoples’ religions and reoriented the meaning toward Christ (think of Christmas trees or Easter eggs), the suggestion of the Synod seems to leave out the explicit reorientation of native religious practices toward Christ.

Liturgical adaptations of the liturgy: While the liturgy has changed over the course of history, allowing each culture to drive new changes may challenge the visible unity and universality of the Church.

Let us continue to pray for Pope Francis and our bishops.

God bless,Fr. Carlos, OSA

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