Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Praised at Amazon Synod

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 8, 2019   

Synod Fathers: 'Environmental theme' both 'ecumenical and interreligious'

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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - On the second day of the Amazon synod, the synod fathers favorably mentioned Swedish climate change alarmist Greta Thunberg and the climate strike initiative. 

Discussing the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the synod and considering the 2018 Synod on Youth, the synod fathers talked about the importance of young proponents for an "integral ecology," according to the Vatican synod website.

We are in the beginning of a mass extinction.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of the diocese of Tyler, Texas, spoke to Church Militant, describing the Synod Father's recent discussions as "gobbledygook" and "crazy." 

"It is like a bad novel that you wouldn't think would make the press," he said. 

The discussion for an "integral ecology" led to a prompt and favorable mention by synod fathers of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist who has become a household name among progressives and liberals.  

Thunberg recently dominated headlines for her speech Sept. 23 to the United Nations' Climate Action Summit in New York City.

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones," said an angry and teary-eyed Thunberg.

"People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth," she continued, ending with an expression of indignation: "How dare you!" 


 

The synod fathers then spoke of the "option for young people," the necessity of dialoguing with the youth on matters pertaining to the protection of creation and the need to increase the involvement of youth who can inspire the Church to be prophetic in this field. 

Young people want to make a better world because they represent "a social doctrine on the move," according to the synod website, which continues: 

More than many others, young people today feel the need to establish a new relationship with Creation, a relationship that is not exploitative, but attentive to the suffering of the planet. For this reason, the environmental theme, which is also ecumenical and interreligious, should be seen by the Church as a positive challenge. It is an invitation to dialogue with young people, to help them in their discernment. In this way, their commitment to protecting Creation is not only a "green and fashionable" slogan, but really becomes a question of life and death, for humanity and for the planet.

The synod fathers also discussed protecting the water table (the upper surface of the zone of saturation), fossil fuels and climate change, indigenous rites and the question of viri probati (married men becoming priests). 

One synod father offered the possibility of the Church incorporating into the liturgy elements of indigenous culture not connected to superstition, which led to a discussion of such inculturation already existing in the celebration of some sacraments like baptism, matrimony and priestly ordination. 

It was proposed that an ad experimentum Amazonian Rite could be established in accord with liturgical and pastoral theological discernment: "At the base of these reflections in the Synod Hall, was the point that just as there exists an environmental ecosystem, there also exists an ecclesial ecosystem."

The environmental theme, which is also ecumenical and interreligious, should be seen by the Church as a positive challenge.

The synod fathers also began to discuss the question of married men becoming priests.

The much-discussed Instrumentum Laboris suggests the possibility of married men becoming priests to combat the priest shortage and to ensure the sacraments are offered frequently in remote areas. 

According to the synod website: "An intervention highlighted though that this cannot result in a substantial revision of the nature of the priesthood and its relationship with celibacy as envisaged in the Latin Rite of the Church."

Moema Maria Marques de Miranda, a lay Franciscan, was the final speaker at the synod, and was also quick to praise Thunberg.

She said that this is the first generation to face the possibility of the world ending, noting that Pope Francis shares this alarmist view.

Since it is only in recent decades that the interconnectedness of the world has been recognized, according to Miranda, the world should learn from indigenous people how to live with creation in harmony.

She went on to say that those like Pope Francis and Thunberg show where things are at this moment in history.

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