In 1956, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, established a program designed, in part, to expose young city dwellers to the glories of the wilderness which provides the premise for the wretched British comedy “Get Duked!” (Amazon).
To modify an old political catchphrase, “It’s about the souls, stupid.” The souls of the Amazonians, many of them forced from their land, exploited and vulnerable. The soul of Amazonia itself, being stripped by fire and dam and chainsaw. Even the souls of those who would exploit and burn and lay waste, and the souls of those of us who turn our backs on the plight of the vulnerable.
In his apostolic exhortation “Querida Amazonia” (Beloved Amazonia), Pope Francis made no mention of the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood so that far-flung Catholic communities would have regular access to the Eucharist.
More than a half century after a group of bishops at the Second Vatican Council made a solemn pledge to live a simple lifestyle close to their people, a group of participants from the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon signed a new pact in the Catacombs of Domitilla.
As tropical forests fall victim to loggers, miners and ranchers, the Catholic Church must take sides to defend the Amazon region and its people, said a bishop whose Bolivian diocese has been ravaged by fire this year.
In a message sent in early July to participants of an Italian conference on the consequences of deforestation in the Amazon, Pope Francis said the current situation in the South American rainforest “is a sad paradigm of what is happening in many parts of the planet.”