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Rome Reports

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Pope calls for a synod on the Amazon

The pope has personally announced that he has convened a special synod for the Pan-Amazon region. It will be in October 2019, and will be attended by bishops from this area.

"The purpose of this convocation is to identify new paths for the evangelization of God’s people in that region, especially the indigenous people who are often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future. It is also because of the crisis of the Amazonian rainforest, a ‘lung’ of primary importance for our planet."

The synod on the Amazon will touch on a variety of issues ranging from ecology, to the lack of priests and religious in the region.

One of the most active Catholic initiatives in the area is the Latin American Church’s transnational network, Red Eclesial PanAmazónica (REPAM). Its website explains the challenges of the region covering more than two million square miles in nine countries. 

It is home to almost 2,800,000 indigenous people, who consider the land where their ancestors are buried to be sacred. Among them are 137 isolated and uncontacted villages.

REPAM says they are in danger because of the aggressions of national states, mining companies, oil companies, loggers, livestock, agro-exporting and mega-hydroelectric companies.

They are from populations that are often ignored, with no voice or force to defend their interests and their cultures. Alone in the face of danger, the pope now calls on Catholics in the area to find solutions for their plight.