Amazon synod addresses pressing subjects


Infographic by Jenna Crowley

The Amazon Synod called together a myriad pf employees of the Catholic Church, including the Pope, bishops throughout the world, and many indigenous peoples of the Pan-Amazonian region to discuss pressing topics in these areas. Statistics courtesy of The New York Times and Catholic News Agency.

Jenna Crowley, Spiritual Life Editor

More than 200 people gathered in October at the Vatican in Rome to address and propose solutions to notable issues in these areas during the Amazon Synod to identify and discuss new directions for evangelization of the faith.

Pope Francis called for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October of 2017 to discuss a significant theme: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. The Synod brought together hand-selected leaders of the faith to discuss these topics.

“The Special Synod’s reflections transcend the strictly ecclesial-Amazonian sphere because they focus on the universal Church, as well as on the future of the entire planet,” according to the Preparatory Document for the Synod. “We begin with a specific geographical area in order to build a bridge to the other important biomes of our world.”

While conversation focuses and begins on the Amazon and its indigenous peoples, discussions are meant to go beyond the limits of the region and stretch out to all parts of the world.

The preparatory document, which was released June 2018, identified specific themes of the synod. Topics included the rights and traditions of indigenous people, the role of women in the Church, and the need to provide Eucharistic access.

Church officials explored the idea of female deacons and married priests to account for the lack of clergy members present in the Amazon.

According to the Catholic News Agency website, there are currently 79 dioceses in the Pan-Amazonian region, spanning nine countries and more than two million square miles of land. 

Publications of the discussions throughout the month, including the preparatory and working documents, can be found online, along with the names of Synod participants.

Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego was among three American bishops chosen to participate in the Synod, appointed by Pope Francis.

Upon publication, El Cid has not received comment from the Diocese of San Diego concerning the Synod. This includes the office of Bishop McElroy, as he is currently attending a national conference of bishops in Washington, D.C.

Nonetheless, since the beginning of the Synod, Bishop McElroy expressed his belief that discussions concerning the Pan-Amazon region can greatly benefit the entirety of the Church.

The gathering of Church officials adheres to better Catholic living for these indigenous peoples, but Bishop McElroy also states the Amazonian peoples promote ideals of community and balance of which Americans are in dire need.

Due to the significance of the Amazon Synod, members of the Church expect topics discussed in Rome will also be recognized at the Washington, D.C. meeting. 

While viewpoints on topics discussed at the Synod vary among those of the faith, all members recognize the impact modern life has had on the perception of the Church.

Through the Amazon Synod, Church employees hope to preserve Catholic faith and tradition while adhering to a changing world.