Amazon Synod of Bishops

Sacred indigenous image vandalized, October 31, 2019

In connection with Pope Francis’ synod of bishops for the Amazon, indigenous people of the Amazon brought sacred symbols to the Vatican for a prayer service. One was the figure of a pregnant woman, which triggered conservative outcry on the Internet. Vandals stole the figure and threw it into the Tiber River.

The NCR editorial relating this story decried racism in the conservative outcry and vandalism. But I see more. This could not have happened if the Catholic Church accepted God as Mother and prayed to Her.

The indigenous people of Latin America revere the Divine Mother regardless of Church doctrine’s careful distinction—only Father and Son are divine, Mother Mary is not.

Latins prefer Mother Mary to Father anyway, continuing indigenous worship that preceded the arrival of Europeans. Goddesses were popular in South America long before Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego. Her garb, mysteriously imprinted on his cloak, is that of an Aztec Goddess.

One outcome of the Amazon synod could be to accept married priests, but only men. Of course.

An Old Story, September 24, 2019

Women doing the real work but not recognized.  What’s new? Preparations for a Catholic synod of bishops from the Amazon posed another version of the story.

Conservatives objected to suggestions for ways the Church could meet the vast needs of people threatened by ecological destruction in the Amazon basin. The document opened for consideration ordaining married priests and . . .
    What did it say about women? It suggested identifying “the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women, taking into account the central role they play today in the Church in the Amazon." 
A timid approach to women’s ordination. Official ministers in the Catholic Church are ordained—the only true and sure way for women to continue the work they already are doing.

But U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke said he would undertake a 40-day "crusade of prayer and fasting" in hopes that the synod’s document would not be approved because it contains "theological errors and heresies."  I can’t read or write this without smiling at the foolishness. 
German Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Gerhard Müller, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also criticized the document.

Women will have no voting rights at the synod that is focused on the very ministry they are leading. But women spoke up. "That was a surprise," said a participant originally from Argentina.
Very, very powerful statements from women. It was quite refreshing.
The priest had been working at the Vatican for two years.
Living in Rome in a very clerical environment, personally for me it was a refreshing surprise to see that they had no fear in saying whatever they want.
A consultant said women are the ones working in the indigenous communities and are “the very presence of the Church.” He was moved by women’s statements because, he said,
They are the ones maintaining the faith, the tradition, and even the presence of the Catholic Church.
So, it was very sorrowful to hear how neglected or excluded they feel in many ways.
Church structure does not allow recognition of women’s enormous achievements. Another adviser said,
Women are practically the ones who are leading communities of faith in Latin America.
Such recognition of women is abhorrent to conservatives. Francis seems determined to avoid roiling conservatives yapping at him, because he refuses to challenge the rule set by John Paul II and Benedict XVI—no women’s ordination. Francis’ language seems an attempt to mollify liberals. He says women should not be “clericalized.”

While I press for women’s ordination, I’m not anxious about it, because time is on the side of women. The longer the official Catholic Church delays, the less relevance it will have in real life. Its institutional structure will crumble.

Reader Response,  September 30

E.  thanked me for the previous post, An old story, and said she appreciates my last statement:
While l press for women’s ordination, I’m not anxious about it, because time is on the side of the women. 
The longer the official CC delays, the less relevance it will have in real life.  Its institutional structure will crumble.
            That sustains me and gives me hope!   Peace.

I'm pleased, surprised, and also not surprised that a professed religious can think this way.  It tells me I'm right when I tell people they'd be surprised by how much their most progressive views are also represented among religious sisters.

Oh Jeanette, There are quite a few of us who believe that the institutional CC needs a lot of reform…and openness.
Given that religious communities have also had their share of decadence, reform and ongoing need for reform, we tend to be patient … at least outwardly.
But we do pray … and sometimes act … for a more gospel-like CC.

I knew many of you wanted reform of the institution, but my statement that the structure will crumble implies a lot more. 
I hesitated there when I was writing it because I hope the Vatican will in future be nothing more than a center for disseminating information about Catholic Christian activities around the globe—no hierarchical structure at all. 

Now that’s a thought … Letting the church be indigenous to each country, nation, culture.
Sounds like a great idea! Giving the church back to the people.
Of course, I won’t see it … but it still sounds good … less hierarchy, less regimentation, less $$$ oversight …
It is something to hope and pray and talk about.

What a great response to my idea of a Vatican clearinghouse instead of a Vatican overlord!


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