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One month after his election, Pope Francis began laying the groundwork to refashion the Universal Church — to remake the face of Roman Catholicism around the world.
Days after becoming pope, Francis met with Peruvian Abp. Pedro Barreto Jimeno and Brazilian Cardinal-designate Cláudio Hummes to discuss setting up a Church network focused on the Amazon.
That meeting put into motion the plan which eventually produced the Amazon Synod — a plan which has unfolded over the past six years.
In a stunning turn of events, Abp. Barreto later remarked that Francis would back liberation theology's agenda for the Amazon, telling supporters: "Expect things that you never expected ... expect profound changes."
In a July 2013 visit to Brazil, Francis told the country's bishops to work toward training indigenous clergy and providing priests suited to local conditions.
Six months later in Peru, the Pope officially called for "a church with an Amazonian face."
In April 2014, Francis floated the idea of married Amazonian priests to Brazilian Bp. Erwin Kräutler, and invited Kräutler to help him write his upcoming environmental encyclical Laudato Si.
Three years later, in October 2017, following the publication of the encyclical, Francis convoked the Amazon Synod.
At a pre-synod meeting in January 2018, Francis declared the Church should allow indigenous peoples to recover "their native cultures, languages, traditions, rights and spirituality."
In July, Vatican whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò called the synod the "triumph of a 60-year-old plan" to bring into the heart of the Church a "new way of thinking" — a thinking "rooted in elements of Liberation Theology ... containing strands of Marxism" and "little interested in traditional Catholic liturgy or morality or theology."
This plan, Viganò warned, has achieved one of its supreme goals — a Jesuit on the throne of St. Peter.