09 Synod of the Amazon - A call to a defense of life, earth & cultures

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:49 AM ]
Ahead of the 2019 Synod for the Amazon, Pope Francis has told some 4,000 indigenous peoples in the Amazon region of Peru, that he wanted to be with them to share their challenges and reaffirm them with "a wholehearted option for the defence of life, the defence of the earth and the defence of cultures."

Pope Francis, during his visit to the South American countries of Chile and Peru, his 22nd Apostolic Trip, stressed this in his address to indigenous people of the Amazon region in the Coliseo Regional Madre de Dios in Peru, Jan. 19, 2018.

Greeting the inhabitants of the Amazon, the Pope remembered his encyclical on the environment Laudato Si, on care for our common home, and expressed his gratitude for what they do to protect the planet.

"Allow me to say once again," the Pope said, "'Praise to you, Lord, for your marvelous handiwork in your Amazonian peoples and for all the biodiversity that these lands embrace!"

The Pope went on to lament that native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present. "I consider it essential to begin creating institutional expressions of respect, recognition and dialogue with the native peoples, acknowledging and recovering their native cultures, languages, traditions, rights and spirituality." The Pope called for an intercultural dialogue in which those before him would be 'the principal dialogue partners,' especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.

"Recognition and dialogue will be the best way to transform relationships whose history is marked by exclusion and discrimination."

"The defence of the earth," the Pontiff said, "has no other purpose than the defence of life." The Pope acknowledged some of their suffering caused by emissions of hydrocarbons, which threaten lives and contaminate the natural environment.