A Wise Child’s Guide to the Amazon Synod
few days ago, Vaticannews.va, an official outlet, featured an article by a Brazilian Jesuit and theologian defending the mishmash of sociology and sophisms in the Amazon Synod’s Working Document using the most extreme terms imaginable. Father Adelson Araujo dos Santos called claims that the Synod was flirting with “theological errors and heresies” to be “a total distortion of the facts.” In his view, anyone making such claims is in “complete disobedience to the whole doctrine and magisterium of the church.”
Is this necessary now? To disagree with what is, by any normal reckoning, a strange Roman concoction – invocation of cosmovisions, rainforest primitivism, shamans, indigenous religious beliefs and practices (some quite shocking) – is defiance of doctrine and the Church’s teaching authority? Not merely a different view? Not even an error? But a revolt against the Faith?
Synod defenders argue that it merely continues the defense of Creation by JPII and Benedict. But this is, at best, misdirection. Any thinking Christian recognizes there are environmental problems stemming from a wrong idea of Creation, primarily that nature is mere matter and energy that we may use any way we wish. But Care of Creation is not in dispute; a mostly empty sentimentalism about indigenous cultures very much is.
It’s another feint to say that the Church has always understood the need to respect and understand native cultures – to “inculturate” the Gospel by finding openings in the cultures themselves. Quite true.