The Amazon is “a litmus test for Church and society in Brazil”. Card. Claudio Hummes, president of REPAM and general rapporteur for the Amazon Synod, said this as he took the floor at the First General Congregation of the Synod that is taking place in the Vatican (until 27 October). “In this Synod, it is right to remember, acknowledge and exalt the heroic history, and often martyrdom, of all the missionaries of the past as well as those who are today in Pan-Amazonia”, the cardinal said, highlighting that “in addition to missionaries, there have also always been many lay and indigenous leaders who provided heroic testimony and were often killed, as still happens today”. “The Pope has made it clear that the Church’s relationship with indigenous people and the Amazon Forest is to be one of its central subjects”, Card. Hummes remarked. And “it is necessary that the right to be the leading players in their own history be returned and guaranteed to indigenous populations, as the subjects and not objects of the spirit or the victims of anyone’s colonialism. Their cultures, languages, history, identity and spirituality are humanity’s wealth and must be respected and preserved as well as included in global culture”.
“The Church’s mission today in Amazonia is the Synod’s central issue”, the cardinal remarked: “This is a Synod of the Church for the Church. Not an inward looking Church, but one integrated in the history and the reality of the territory. An updated Church, ‘semper reformanda’, according to the Evangelii Gaudium; an outgoing missionary Church, explicitly announcing Jesus Christ, welcoming and communicative, merciful, poor, for the poor and with the poor. Therefore a Church with a preferential, encultured, inter-cultural and increasingly more synodal attention paid to the poor”.