From Puerto Maldonado, right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, we wish to join in this celebration for the publication of Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation.
It was precisely here, in Puerto Maldonado, where this beautiful story of the Pan-Amazonian Synod began. On 19 January the Pope told us: “today here, this afternoon, the work of the Synod begins”. And from that date, a process of listening was initiated by more than 87,000 people, from our native communities, farmers, riverside communities, cities... Together we were tracing the new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.
In October of last year, the Pope called us to Rome. He wanted to place the Amazon in the heart of the Church, even at the risk of bringing disorder to the house. I am a witness of the hope with which many of our indigenous brothers arrived at the Vatican, at “the Pope's house”, they said – and there it was felt even more. Their desires and concerns were heard and, together, with all the bishops and missionaries, we shared the passion for proclaiming Christ.
And today, Pope Francis, gives us this exhortation, the fruit of the whole process: QUERIDA AMAZONIA, Beloved Amazon. The title is already a reflection of the heart of the Pope who shows a deep love for this particular territory and its peoples. The exhortation is a POEM of love proclaimed to the whole Universal Church and to all people of good will. It is a poem which weeps for the crimes and injustices, and which marvels at the beauty of these forests and their inhabitants.
The Pope once again does not offer us a goal. He wants to be a light on a continuing path. The exhortation, which is complemented by the post-synodal document, generates processes. It encourages us to transcend tensions and to continue searching for new paths of consensus in order to encounter Christ, Who makes us dream of His Kingdom present in society, in culture, in ecology and in the Church.
Thank you, Pope Francis, for the encouragement and impetus you give us. Your exhortation, Querida Amazonía, makes us feel more closely the love of Christ and of the Church, and impels us to assume the great challenge that we have of being close to the most vulnerable and with them to take care of our planet.
[00194-EN.01] [Original text: Spanish - working translation]