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“Querida Amazonía” from a woman’s perspective

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The name chosen by the Pope for the apostolic exhortation, "Querida Amazonía," suggests that the entire text will be a song of love, and coming from Francis, one of prophesy and denunciation. And so it is.
It begins by highlighting the final document of the synod, inviting us to read it and put it into practice. Therefore, none of that document should be set aside, everything is validated.

As in "Laudato Si", the Pope invites us to dare to turn what is happening to the world into personal suffering; In “Querida Amazonía”, he invites us to contemplate the Amazon and not only analyze; to make it ours and discover it as a theological place. Everything changes when something hurts us as our own. And the Pope has emotionally endorsed the Amazon.

In the style of our Indigenous peoples, for whom dreams have an effective value, the Pope expresses his wishes in four dreams

  • dream social
  • dream cultural
  • dream ecological
  • dream ecclesiological.

In the social dream, he unambiguously points out the enormous disparity of power between the colonizing interests and the Amazonian peoples. These are caught because of the expansion of timber and mining companies, and thus are being forced to emigrate to the cities where they must face subhuman conditions many times. Once again Francisco proclaims that these economic relations kill. Bluntly, he describes the situation of injustice and crime. The document values the strong community sense of the original peoples and thanks them for being “a shout of conscience, living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: take care of the common house.” (n ° 19)

The ecological dream looks at the jungle not as a resource to exploit, but as a being, or several beings, with whom to interact, according to the Indigenous experience. We must recognize the truth that we are approaching an end for that biome on which the planetary equilibrium depends. Right order means putting our original peoples in the centre. They are the main interlocutors and have the right to allow or disallow projects in their territory. We are urged to create a regulatory system that establishes insurmountable limits. Warnings of the danger, not only of natural disasters, but of catastrophes derived from social crises, caused by the obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, to name only a few (inequality causes violence and reciprocal destruction).

He dedicates almost half of the text to the ecclesiological dream, but it is the least prophetic. It invites us to welcome what the Spirit has already sown in Amazonian cultures before evangelization; to listen to ancestral wisdom and to value Indigenous mysticism. He points out that inculturation in the Amazon must have a marked social character. The document states that the sacraments must be accessible, especially to the poor, and should never be denied for reasons of money. It reiterates the unique and central role of priests, but highlights the need to thoroughly review their initial and ongoing formation. It points the need to develop an ecclesial cultural in the Amazon, markedly lay.

Recognizing the existence of conflicts, invites us to overcome them by "overflow", with creativity. The last points of the exhortation are dedicated to valuing what unites us to all Christians, inviting us to work together to defend the poor of the Amazon.

"Our dream for women !"

As for the woman issue, we cannot help feeling disappointment. How misguided I consider the statement "women make their contribution to the Church according to their own way and prolonging the strength and tenderness of Mary, the Mother" (No. 101). It seems that we are invited to follow Mary, and not Jesus of Nazareth. Here I want to bring up what I heard from Consuelo Vélez, a Colombian theologian: “Patriarchy and anthropocentrism have made us believe that masculinity is positive and everything else is dependent on that masculinity. It seems that Jesus’ masculinity was ontological and not historical. If it were ontological, it would mean that the other characteristics of the incarnate historical Jesus (Jewish, Aramaic speaking, etc.) were realities that we would have to assume. That is absurd. But because of making the masculinity of Jesus something ontological and not historical, the consequence has been that women are excluded from so many ecclesial realities. It seems that we are not worthy to represent the Lord in many realities within the Church. Every woman and man who is baptized is called to follow Jesus; and for all, men and women, Mary is a model as the first believer and disciple of her son. Unfortunately, in this aspect, we have to say that the Pope has reinforced religious patriarchy, and contrary to his desire, clericalism.

It concludes with a prayer to Mary, Mother of the Amazon.
That same Mary who, as Joan Chisttister reminds us, “In the Annunciation deliberates with the angel; she questions. In a culture prone to absolute control of women, Mary makes a personal decision and answers the angel, assumes responsibility for the fact and bears the consequences. Maria is a strong woman who changes the course of human history. Maria was a woman who decided for herself, outside the law, alone, regardless of guardians or guides. She was a woman who risked everything to do what she knew God wanted from her, whatever the social, public and spiritual cost it demanded. It was a woman who acted alone, without asking permission from the systems or the tradition that surrounded her. She was a woman who placed herself in a public situation and urged Jesus to do the same, even though he said his time had not yet come. She had a strong will and faith, a strong sense of self and great spiritual vigour. She is our first model of strength, faith, conviction and equanimity .”

May Mary help us to dream and to pour out our life in realizing this dream.

Mariángel Marco Teja Ursuline of Jesus Edmonton, Canada, February 17, 2020

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