“Querida Amazonia“ – mixed feelings

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis on the situation in the Amazon region was eagerly awaited also in the General Secretariat. At the International Convention in Lima in 2017, delegates dealt with the work of the pan-amazonian network Repam (Red Eclesial Panamazónica) and discussed how we can cope with the crisis of the Church and business in the Amazon region as a test case for global politics and the world church. In 2019, the International Board of Directors also had the Amazon synod as a major item on the agenda of its meeting.

“The apostolic exhortation ´Querida Amazonia´ adapts Laudato Si to the Amazon region. It calls for a change of the economic system that rests on an exploitation of the creation and brings illness and death in many places”, General Praeses Msgr. Ottmar Dillenburg states. “This reaffirms our mission in Kolping to work towards integral human development on the basis of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.“

General Secretary Dr. Markus Demele is disappointed to see that the answers to the pastoral challenges that had already been formulated in the final document of the Amazon Synod, were not addressed in the Pope’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation. “In terms of pastoral care, it is discouraging to see that married men are not ordained in regions where people have not had a chance to celebrate the Eucharist for years because there are no celibate priests. From a theological point of view, the image of women as it is formulated in the apostolic exhortation is highly problematic. To my mind, the Gospel does not propose that women merely contribute by ´making present the tender strength of Mary, the Mother´ and that they cannot be called to perform a sacramental act in the imitation of Christ”, Markus Demele states.