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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Amazonian bishops have created a transnational ecclesial conference in the first, significant phase of implementing the proposals of the 2019 Amazon Synod and Pope Francis' post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia ("Beloved Amazon").
The Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (ECA) will promote synodality, foster integral ecology, affirm Amazonian identity and respond to "the cries of the poor and of Mother Earth," announced a June 29 statement signed by CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council) president Abp. Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte and REPAM (Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network) president Cdl. Cláudio Hummes.
The new pan-Amazonian body covering Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and French Guiana, aims to "outline the Amazonian face of this Church" and "continue the task of finding new paths for the evangelizing mission."
It seeks to bring to fulfilment the four dreams of Pope Francis set forth in Querida Amazonia: a social dream, a cultural dream, an ecological dream and an ecclesial dream.
"It is a very special sign that the birth of this Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon happens on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul," the bishops' statement said.
Critics have questioned the need for the creation of yet another organization in the Amazon region.
"In addition to various national bishops' conferences and CELAM, Latin America already has several sub-regional bodies of bishops, like the Andean region, the Bolivarian region, the Antilles and so forth," Julio Loredo, president of the Italian section of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) told Church Militant.
"Most have one thing in common: They are guided by people aligned with the several strains of liberation theology," the Peruvian expert on liberation theology explained.
"One special case is the Amazon Region, around which has been constructed a whole new pastoral approach, supported by a whole new theology — the so-called indigenous theology of liberation," the author of Teologia della liberazione. Un salvagente di piombo per i poveri [Liberation Theology: A Life Preserver for the Poor] said.
Loredo revealed that Brazilian cardinal Cláudio Hummes was closely allied to a Marxist political party, Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers' Party).
"REPAM," Loredo explained, "is a network of NGOs [non-governmental organizations], both religious and lay, activists, think tanks and so forth, dedicated to the new 'Church with an Amazonian face.'"
"The goal of the new ECA is to implement the Amazon Synod held in Rome last October, or rather a radical interpretation thereof. This is nothing else but the old REPAM at an episcopal level," Loredo, who is editor and contributor to the Pan-Amazon Synod Watch website, stressed.
Loredo also expressed concern about the extent to which the Vatican is taking on the Amazon Synod's "neo-pagan agenda proposed by the United Nations in conferences such as the Rio Summit in 1992 and the Rio + 20 Summit in 2012."
But the bishops' statement hailed the ECA's birth as a "kairós moment" and as "a sign of hope together with the Magisterium of Pope Francis, who closely followed this whole process," Loredo added.
The birth of the ECA fulfills the implementation of section 115 of the Amazon Synod's final document, which proposed "the creation of a bishops' organism that promotes synodality among the churches of the region, helps to express the Amazonian face of this Church and continues the task of finding new paths for the evangelizing mission, especially incorporating the proposal of integral ecology, thus strengthening the physiognomy of the Church in the Amazon."
"So constituted, it can be the effective instrument in the territory of the Latin American and Caribbean Church for taking up many of the proposals that emerged in this synod. It would be the nexus for developing Church and socio-environmental networks and initiatives at the continental and international levels," the controversial final document, published in October 2019, stated.
The final document contains over 150 proposals on defining "ecological sin," permitting married deacons to be ordained priests, creating new ministerial roles for women, approving an Amazonian liturgical rite, developing environmental programs and aligning the Church with indigenous communities.
Cardinal Hummes will serve as the first ECA president, assisted by vice president Bp. David Martínez de Aguirre of Peru.
From the Amazon Synod, Church Militant reported how Hummes, socialist successor to "Red" Dom Helder Camara and general rapporteur of the Amazon Synod, led the renewal of the Pact of the Catacombs — a secret document soaked in the jargon of liberation theology.
The pact is marinated in the Newspeak of Eco-socialism, and the signatories commit themselves and the Church, "in the face of extreme global warming," to an "integral ecology in which all is interconnected."
The Holy See was represented at the creation of the ECA by Cdl. Lorenzo Baldisseri (the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops), Cdl. Marc Ouellet (the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops), Cdl. Luis Tagle (the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) and by Cdl. Michael Czerny (under-secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development).