Seven key points of “Beloved Amazon”

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In addition to resolving the question of priestly celibacy without opening the door to the ordination of married men, the exhortation “Beloved Amazon” includes many other fundamental issues for the region and for the whole Church.

Don't stop announcing the Gospel

The pope insists the sacraments must be accessible and regrets the Church's presence in the region is not enough. Therefore, he reinforces the role of the laity, rather than promoting the priesthood for married men or clericalizing the role of women with the female diaconate or priesthood.

“The response of the synod and the apostolic exhortation is to see the range of possibilities and potentialities we have not yet taken advantage of and, above all, to encourage the bishops to send missionaries to the region. To encourage the formation of deacons and the development of other ministries that make the Church present among peoples, even in the most remote regions.”

“Beloved Amazonia' underlines the Amazon peoples have the right to have the Gospel proclaimed to them. He says if they do not, 'each ecclesial structure will become one more NGO.”


Pope Francis is clear, saying do not quickly describe as 'superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples.' He says 'it is possible to take up an indigenous symbol, without necessarily considering it as idolatry.'

Do not colonize the Amazon

The pope asks not to culturally colonize the region, 'but to help her make the best of herself.' Therefore, he insists those on the outside should not falling into stereotypes and 'avoid unfair generalizations, simplistic arguments and conclusions drawn only on the basis of our own mindsets and experiences.'

REPAM Executive Secretary
“The first thing is to remove the prejudice against indigenous people. There is the idea that indigenous peoples are permanently the same without ever changing. The communities are alive, and have their own proposals.”

On the other hand, the pope invites these peoples to protect themselves from a cultural invasion. At the same time, he asks they don't become 'a completely enclosed, a-historic, static indigenism' who refuse all forms of integration.

Legal protection

He describes 'injustice and crime' national and international initiatives as those “which harm the Amazon and fail to respect the right of the original peoples to the land and its boundaries.”

“Do they still want more land? We had so much, but now we have almost nothing. Yet, they still want to take more. They want to take away the land and kill us.”

Lay missionary
“The Peruvian governments see these populations as a necessary evil, as second-rate populations, abandoned in a territory that must be exploited; for them they are unprepared and incompetent people.”

Therefore, he asks for rules that set “limits and ensures the protection of ecosystems” from the “huge global economic interests.” He says the solution is not 'internationalizing the Amazon.'

Change in the consumption model

At the individual level, the pope proposes a change in lifestyle and consumption models. He invites everyone to learn how 'to contemplate' from indigenous peoples, because, on many occasions, 'our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense' is blocked.

Care of the Ecosystem

'Beloved Amazon,' unites caring for Amazonian peoples and caring for their ecosystem. The pope warns that, if they are separated 'the life and beauty' of the Amazon will be destroyed, 'even though people would like to keep thinking nothing is happening.' Pope Francis invites everyone to listen to the wisdom of the indigenous that 'inspires care and respect for creation, and prohibits its abuse.'

Control of Church investments

The pope wants the Church to be at the forefront of caring for Amazonian values and lifestyle. He wants it done with total transparency. That is why he asks to pay “special attention to the provenance of donations” as well as “to the investments made by ecclesiastical institutions or individual Christians.”

Ángeles Conde
Melissa Butz 

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