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Pope to Synod: I was sad to hear comment about indigenous man with feathers on head

Before beginning the synod, participants and the Pope met early in the morning to pray above the tomb of St. Peter.

In memory of the fisherman from Galilee, they wore nets, and had a canoe.

They sang in Latin...

and also incorporated songs in indigenous languages.

They then processed to the Synod hall, remembering the faces of missionaries and missionary martyrs who died in the Amazon.

The pope delivered a speech, which he prepared personally. He asked them not to look at the Amazon as strategists, but as disciples of Jesus and as missionaries.

We have not come here to invent social development programs, or be custodians of museum-like cultures, or pastoral actions with the same non-contemplative style with which actions of the opposite side are being carried out: deforestation, uniformity, exploitation. They also have programs that do not respect their 'poetry,' which is the reality of the peoples, which is sovereign.

The pope said the Church cannot claim to "discipline" or "domesticate" indigenous cultures. Therefore, he asked they be regarded with respect.

Yesterday I was very sad to hear, here inside, a sarcastic comment about that 'pious man' who brought up the offerings with feathers on his head. Tell me, what is the difference between wearing feathers on one's head and the tricorn biretta used by some officers of our dicasteries?

Pope Francis recalled the synod is an ecclesial event, not a search for majorities to advance their own ideas.

This will shape a congregationalist Church. If we intend to seek out, with surveys, who has a majority. Or a sensationalist Church, that is so far, so distant from our Holy Mother the Catholic Church. Or as St. Ignatius liked to say, our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

Then, the secretary general explained the work done in the last two years to prepare for these meetings.

In addition, he summarized how these days would work.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes gave insight to the working document, which will guide the conversations.

He recalled some points in the text, which highlight the Church's work in the Amazon, regret mining companies that threaten the survival of indigenous populations and the ecosystem; and the absence of the Eucharist and in most areas.

Synod Relator General
"While reaffirming the great value of the charism of celibacy in the Church, it won't be touched; in the face of great need, the vast majority of the Catholic communities of the Amazon, requested that the path to priestly ordination of married men who inhabit them be opened for their communities."

The document also says that as there are many women leading Amazonian communities, their service should be recognized by creating some kind of ministry for them.

At the conclusion, the pope shook his hand as a close gesture, thanking him for his work.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Melissa Butz