Pope Francis and indigenous leaders from the Amazonia in the Vatican Synod. Photos: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images.
Pope Francisco and indigenous leaders from the Amazon in the Vatican Synod. Photos: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images.

“Green” Bishops and shamans to save the Amazon

The Vatican qualifies the jungle devastation as an “ecologic sin” and compromises to work close to indigenous communities on preserving Amazon regions from…


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“The more diverse, more divine”. This was one of the most repeated mottos at the Synod for the Amazon, that joined the most progressist bishops in Catholic Church, indigenous leaders and scientists together in the Vatican for the last three weeks in order to create a document not only to report but to search urgent actions to take against deforestation. 

A meeting with countless obstacles, especially from the conservative branch of the church, who are against a collateral debate hotspots: married men to be ordained in regions where there are not enough priests.

Further from the celibate question, this is the first time that the Vatican has made the environmental crisis a central problem and listened to the indigenous tribes who Pope Francis recognizes as the main experts on the human connection with nature.

And they did it with total respect for their religious cults in what it seems to be historical restitution of the harmful effects of the colonization and evangelization period on Amazonian people.  

“We cannot deny the Catholic church’s role in the destruction of the ancestral Latin American cultures, but nowadays the more progressist part of them are raising their voices and prioritizing the indigenous population’s life, and most of these priests are risking their lives to preserve the Amazon,” says Teresa Martínez, speaker from Survival International.

God’s (green) House

This commitment is not new, it began when Pope Francis visited Puerto Maldonado (Peru) in January 2018 and listened to native leaders’ claims and started to redefine the verb “to evangelize” as a search of common paths between ancestral spirituality and Catholicism. 

“Every tribal leader said that they didn’t need to be taught on what to believe, or the meaning of goodness, they have their own spiritual representatives,” states Martínez. 

 At their turn, bishops assured that destroying nature and damage human rights is far from being a “God matter;" instead, an “ecological sin” whose solution won’t come from Heaven.

La selva vivió en septiembre uno de los peores incendios que se conocen, con casi 22.000 fotos. Foto: Carl de Souza/AFP via Getty Images

The scientist Carlos Nobre, one of the most well-known experts on Amazon regions, advised at the Synod that “we are approaching a model of total destruction of Amazon and their people”, and encouraged to seek a new model “between the traditional knowledge from the original communities and science and technology in order to keep the biodiversity.”

If not, we will go past “the point of no return," meaning the deforestation of 40% of the Amazon rainforest and temperatures increased over 3 grades in the near future. 

In sum, a “suicide” of huge dimensions to what we should add racism, genocide, violence, and the forced development suffered by more than 150 million indigenous people who live in tribal societies around the globe.

The “Niño”, The “Niña” and Bolsonaro

Worse than the most destructive cyclones, from the ultra-right Jair Bolsonaro arrived in Brasil government the rainforest deforestation and the genocide crimes have increased in the Planet’s lungs.

Bolsonaro, who refused the deforestation at the UN assembly while his country faced one of the worse forest fires in decades, accused the rest of foreigner countries on not being interested in the native people, “nor the damn trees either, but the minerals.”

He also criticized the Catholic Church.

Los Obispos brasileños aseguran haber sido tratados como "enemigos de la patria" por el presidente Bolsonaro,

In early October, Brazilian bishops reported being “criminalized” and treated as “enemies of the country” by Jair Bolsonaro. 

According to a recent Datafolha poll, in the last 25 years, the number of Catholic people has drastically fallen in Brasil and for the first time in history, there are more Evangelists than Catholics in northern Amazonia. 

This was, in fact, an important question to be debated at the Synod, where the Vatican also manifested its preoccupation with the growth of the Pentecostal church,  Jair Bolsonaro's government grassroots base. 

 Will it be the beginning of a new war for the religious and economic power in the Amazon?


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