Puerto Maldonado (Peru) - Pope Francis has made history: "The Pope had had close encounters with indigenous cultural identities, especially in his meetings with popular movements and in some of his travels", says to Agenzia Fides Mauricio López, Executive Secretary of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (Repam). "But the meeting with about 3,000 leaders - men and women - of the Amazon peoples, which took place in Puerto Maldonado, has a capital magnitude". The Pope confirmed the full citizenship of the Amazonian indigenous peoples in the Church, sealing the alliance for the protection of their cultures, natural resources and their survival. "The recognition of these peoples - which can never be considered a minority, but authentic interlocutors", said Francis, "reminds us that we are not the absolute masters of creation. It is urgent to accept the essential contribution they offer to the whole society" because "their vision of the cosmos and their wisdom have much to teach us. All the efforts we make to improve their lives will always be few".
Lopez tells Fides: "Already as editor of the final document of the great assembly of the Latin American Bishops of Aparecida - where the theme of the Amazon appears with depth and clarity - Bergoglio had shown attention and closeness to these issues".
Since the signs in the indigenous cultures are very important, the distribution of space in the Puerto Maldonado sports hall showed plastically the value assigned by the Church to this instance, which on the other hand the Pope himself emphasized ("I have long desired this meeting. I wanted to start the visit to Peru from here). "The Holy Father, as a representative of the Church - explains Lopez - was accompanied and surrounded by the wise elders of these peoples, members of the different Amazonian indigenous peoples and representatives of the Church and the government".
In Puerto Maldonado, the Church "made a meeting between the different spiritualities and identities of the Amazonian nationalities with the Christian faith possible", illustrates the ecclesial lay leader, who considers the message of "an extraordinary force". Francis again denounced "a model of economic development that produces death and 'rejected'", and addressed an "appeal for the recognition and affirmation of the original cultures" that constitute "a model of integral human development". For the Church, this commitment is not new, but it is sustained over time, often in solitude, against everyone and with numerous martyrs, since the arrival of the first missionaries.
In the evening, as announced publicly by the Pope, the first step was taken in the preparation of the special synod for the Amazon: a pre-synodal council of one and a half days, for which Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, a member of the Vatican delegation, summoned the Bishops of the Amazon (present those of seven of the eight countries of the region, except French Guiana), representatives of Celam (Latin American and Caribbean Episcopal Council) ), of the Latin American Conference of Religious (Clar) and Caritas, to gather opinions in view of the Synod, which will take place in October 2019. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 20/01/2018)