- Jun 19, 2021
Less than a week before the U.S.-sponsored Leaders Summit on Climate, environmental and religious leaders said they are worried about talks on how to preserve the region and are asking government officials from the U.S. and the Amazon to look at kindly at the rainforest and its peoples.
Earlier this week it was announced that Cardinal Pedro Barreto, who was among the chief architects of last year’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, would be taking charge of the Catholic Church’s leading entity dedicated to protecting the Pan-Amazonian region.
Church leaders sent a strong message of support to an unprecedented virtual assembly of more than 3,000 indigenous leaders, small farmers, environmental campaigners and women from the nine countries of the Amazon region seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catholic leaders warn that as the coronavirus pandemic spreads into the Amazon basin, the region may face a “humanitarian and environmental tragedy.”
Governors from eight Amazonian states in Brazil and Peru meeting at the Vatican agreed that the Amazon is threatened and called for a “green economy” that would allow people to generate income without destroying the forest.
Facing what signatories call an “avalanche of consumerism,” 40 bishops pledged Sunday to assume a “happily sober lifestyle, simple and in solidarity with those who have little or nothing; to reduce the production of garbage and the use of plastics, favoring the production and commercialization of agro-ecological products; and using public transport whenever possible.”
One might say that just as the Rhine flowed into the Tiber at Vatican II, in the words of the title to Ralph Wiltgen’s controversial history, so today the Rhine is also flowing into the Amazon.
Though he probably wouldn’t have chosen it as his battleground, in effect the debate over married priests at the 2019 Amazon synod could be Ouellet’s last hurrah, his final opportunity in a meaningful setting to make the case for tradition in a time of runaway change.