- Jul 8, 2020
To tackle the question of global access to clean water, hundreds of experts, policymakers, nongovernmental groups and members of civil society came together for two water forums held in mid-March in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.
Madre de Dios, the Kansas-sized region in the Amazon forest on the border with Brazil and Bolivia, has been described as “la periferia de las periferias” (the edge of the edge). Pope Francis’s decision to visit highlighted the plight of indigenous peoples and a valuable rainforest that spans nine countries; both will be discussed at a special Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2019.
Clergy in southern Chiapas reiterated warnings of an escalating humanitarian crisis as a land dispute has driven some 5,000 indigenous Tzotzil from their communities and into the mountains to survive in cold and squalid conditions.
Leaders of indigenous peoples in Cameroon have taken a Catholic bishop to court in an effort to stop Catholics from going on pilgrimage to a mountain considered sacred to their traditional religion. A cross was erected on the mountain 60 years ago in order to pray for peace during the country’s war for independence.
Another statue of St. Junipero Serra has been defaced in California. The founder of the California missions has been criticized for his treatment of native populations in the 18th century. However, when Pope Francis made him a saint, he said Serra “sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.”
In the spirit of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, ‘Laudato Si’,’ religious and indigenous leaders from dozens of countries met in Norway to discuss the dangers of deforestation and climate change. The initiative plans to find new ways to protect the planet and indigenous people with interreligious cooperation.