The long-awaited document for the Amazon Synod, Querida Amazonía, is a disappointment to both faithful Catholics and those who want the Church to change with the times.
Liberal Catholics were hoping the document would open the doors to allow for a married priesthood and a female diaconate. Faithful Catholics are breathing a sigh of relief, since the document explicitly condemned those measures, though not for the right reasons.
The apostolic exhortation does, however, open the door to the inculturation of the Mass in the 2.3 million square mile Amazon region.
On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in the lead-up to the Amazon Synod, Church officials allowed a pagan ceremony to take place in the Vatican gardens with Pope Francis and several other high-profile prelates attending.
Faithful Catholics were outraged at the event being allowed to occur in the first place. They were further dismayed when pagan Pachamama idols were featured in St. Peter's Basilica and the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.
Tensions increased after faithful Catholics took the Pachamama idols and threw them into the Tiber River, a gesture reflecting the outright rejection of pagan inclusion.
Besides shooting down the married priesthood and female diaconate, Querida Amazonía still speaks of inculturation. While inculturation is valid and has happened throughout the Church's history, both the ritual at the Vatican gardens and at Santa Maria in Traspontina is causing faithful Catholics to be measured in their response to the document.
Church Militant's Rome correspondent, Jules Gomes, comments, "This 'hermeneutic of suspicion' reading [of the document] is coming from our side." He adds, "The liberals are jumping up and down like a cat on hot bricks. If they could read a way out of this impasse Francis has created, they definitely would."
To hear more about Querida Amazonía, watch The Download—Amazon Crisis Averted?