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(RNS) — With the upcoming Synod for the Amazon, some people are only focused on whether it will recommend that the priesthood be opened to the ordination of married men, but there is a lot more at stake. True, the synod will discuss the possibility of ordaining married men because there is a shortage of priests to serve such a huge area, but that will be only one topic discussed.
The synod, which will take place Oct. 6-28, will primarily include bishops from the Amazon region called to Rome by Pope Francis.
Sheer - Size - Amazon - Brazil - Countries
Sheer size makes the Amazon important, as it includes Brazil and eight other countries with millions of people over thousands of square miles.
But for Pope Francis, the Amazon is also important because it touches on so many themes of his papacy: concern for the marginalized, evangelization and protection of the environment.
Peoples - Amazon - Victims - Exploitation - Genocide
The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have been the victims of exploitation and genocide for centuries. They have been considered less than human by European and Latin exploiters, of value only as slave labor and beasts of burden. They have been pushed from their ancestral homes deeper into the jungle. Rape was common. Those who opposed the invaders were murdered.
Nor is this merely history; much of it is still going on as loggers, cattlemen, miners and agribusiness continue to press on indigenous peoples and land. It is no surprise that the pope, who has made the marginalized a focus of his concern, wants the world to cry out in protest against these atrocities.
Church - Innocent - Face - Abuses - Priests
Nor is the church innocent in the face of these abuses. Although historically a few priests and religious stand out as voices for justice, until recently the church was part of the system that denigrated indigenous cultures and tried to turn the natives into European Christians. Too...
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