Wednesday 16th October 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Amazon Synod Faces Real Dilemmas

October 5, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

By BILL DONOHUE

(Editor’s Note: Bill Donohue is president of the Catholic League. He wrote this column on October 2, four days before the opening of the Amazon Synod. The Wanderer went to press this week on October 3. Donohue’s column first appeared at www.catholicleague.org. All rights reserved.)

+ + +

The upcoming Amazon Synod of Bishops, October 6-27, has generated a lot of controversy, much of it dealing with the prospect of “married men of virtue” in the Amazon region being ordained as priests. That, and much more, is discussed in the synod’s working document.
There is a larger issue, however, that poses a real dilemma for the Church: how to respect the culture of indigenous peoples while at the same time acknowledging inherent deficiencies in it. An even bigger problem is coming to terms with the logical prescriptions for progress and the anti-modernist vision of the working document on this subject.
Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino notes the working document “seems to consider the Indians or original peoples and culture as the whole of the Amazonian population, not taking into account the urban and criollas (white and mixed-race) population of cities and towns.” The Venezuelan cardinal is correct. I would go even further.
Sociologist Steven Goldberg, in his landmark book, The Inevitability of Patriarchy, which explained why every society in the history of the world has been ruled by men, noted that there has never been an “Amazonian society.” What exists in the hinterlands of Brazil, and nearby territories, are mostly tribes. It is these tribal peoples that the working document addresses.
Who are these people? Are they primitive, at least by our Western standards? The working document finds the terms “savages” and “primitive” to be an example of “contempt for the people and customs of the Amazon territory.” To be sure, racists have seized on such terms as a way to denigrate the people in this part of the world, but is it accurate to say that such terminology is inherently racist?
I raise this question because many social scientists would find fault with such a dismissive attitude. No anthropologist did more to challenge the conventional wisdom of the noble savage — in the Amazon region — than Napoleon Chagnon. His book, Yanomami: The Fierce People, detailed how incredibly violent these Indians were. “Yanomami life was one of ‘incessant warfare’,” he said. In fact, “men who killed were more highly esteemed and had more wives and children than men who did not.”
Despite politically motivated attempts to smear his reputation, Chagnon was elected to the National Academy of Scientists in 2012.
In short, there is nothing noble about savages — quite the opposite. This must be said because the working document offers a romanticized portrait of the indigenous people of the Amazon region. Over and over again we learn how “connected” they are to each other and to nature, and how corrupt the developed world is. Consider the following excerpts.
“A contemplative, attentive, and respectful look at their brothers and sisters, and also at nature — the brother tree, the sister flower, the sisters birds, the brothers fish, and even the smallest sisters like ants, larvae, fungi or insects — allows the Amazonian communities to discover how everything is connected….”
“The care of life [that they exhibit] is opposed to the throwaway culture, to the culture of exploitation, oppression and lying” (my italic).
“Everything is shared; private spaces, so typical of modernity, are minimal. Life proceeds on a communal path where tasks and responsibilities are distributed and shared for the sake of the common good. There is no place for the idea of an individual detached from the community or its territory.”
“The Amazon cosmovision and the Christian worldview are both in crisis due to the imposition of mercantilism, secularization, the throwaway culture, and idolatry of money.”
“The original peoples of the Amazon have much to teach us.”
“The invasion of huge so-called ‘development’ projects which actually destroy both lands and peoples” is decried, citing “hydroelectric projects” that cause much “pain.”
Also denounced are the “agents of the techno-economic model,” and “infrastructural mega-projects like hydroelectric dams and international highways.”
According to this portrait, it would be better for these people not to adopt the ways of the developed nations. Yet even the authors of the working document call attention to the backward ways of the people in this region. “Inefficiency of health/sanitation services” are noted. There is also a “Lack of quality in education and dropping out of school.” The public authorities are cited for responding slowly to developing “infrastructure and the promotion of employment.”
This is the dilemma for the bishops: How can the well-being of the indigenous peoples be improved if modern methods are rejected? Take health care. This is how current conditions are described in the working document. “Health care of the inhabitants involves detailed knowledge of medicinal plants and other traditional elements that are part of the healing process.”
Should such quaint practices be encouraged or would it be more humane to introduce them to modern medicine? Why is it considered respectful to allow them to live in the dark ages when they don’t have to? Can sanitation services be expected to improve, and can infrastructure be built, if there is an animus to the “techno-economic model” and “international highways”? No matter, it seems the authors of the working document have made up their minds.
“Faced with these new diseases, inhabitants are forced to buy medicines from pharmaceutical companies using the same plants from the Amazon. Once marketed, these same drugs are beyond their financial reach for reasons that include patenting of drugs and overpricing. Therefore, it is proposed to value traditional medicine, the wisdom of the elders and indigenous rituals, and at the same time to facilitate access to medicines that cure new diseases.”
If the contradictions evident in this observation have to be explained, then the situation is hopeless.
It is striking to read some of the suggestions by well-educated persons from the West. “Reject alliance with the dominant culture and with political and economic power in order to promote the cultures and rights of indigenous people, of the poor and of the territory.”
If that is what these people want, then so be it. But it must be noted that this is ineluctably a recipe for stagnation and poverty. Moreover, it is a prescription that the authors have clearly rejected for themselves.
I would like to end on a happy note. The working document is not totally against modernity. Toward the end it recommends greater dissemination of the “infrastructure of media, especially radio stations, which are its principal means of communication.”
To that end, I would recommend a special collection for the great work of EWTN, the proceeds of which would finance radio outreach in the Amazon region.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Within 5 year of gay "marriage" being legal, we have:

* Transgender kids
* Gay sex taught to pre school
* 150 genders
* Drag Q. story hour
* Decriminalization of knowingly transmitting AIDS
* Grown men in girl's bathroom.

This is NOT progress. Not born that way
#LGBBTQtakeover

Load More...

Pope Francis appoints new head of Vatican security

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2019 / 04:39 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed the second-in-command of Vatican security to head the City State’s national police force, after the resignation of the former chief Oct. 14. The pope named Oct. 15,…Continue Reading

Ecological ritual performed in Vatican gardens for pope’s tree planting ceremony

Vatican City, Oct 4, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis witnessed an indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday, during which people held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women, one of…Continue Reading

Young man stuns courtroom by forgiving brother’s murderer, urging her to seek Christ

DALLAS, Texas, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In an incredible display of human compassion, a young man whose brother was shot and killed forgave the cop who had been found guilty of his murder. Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ouellet defends priestly celibacy ahead of Amazon synod

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2019 / 11:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented a book Wednesday arguing that in the face of challenges, the Church should not grab at quick solutions, but seek to…Continue Reading

President Trump Defends Religious Freedom at UN, Announces Campaign to Protect Churches

President Donald Trump urged nations across the world to protect religious freedom Monday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Trump, the first U.S. president to highlight religious freedom at the UN, said America will set aside $25…Continue Reading

Archbishop Harry Flynn dies at 86

Minneapolis, Minn., Sep 23, 2019 / 03:40 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Harry Flynn, a former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has died. Flynn died Sunday in the St. Paul rectory where he had spent his final days…Continue Reading

Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse. The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider call for prayer crusade, cite dangers of Amazon Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an eight-page declaration warning against six “serious theological errors and heresies” they say are contained in the Amazonian Synod working document, and calling for prayer and fasting to prevent them being approved. Cardinal Burke, patron…Continue Reading

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

What are you willing to die for, Chaput asks students

Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- It is important to consider what we are willing to die for, Archbishop Charles Chaput reminded students and faculty in a speech at the University of Notre Dame on Friday. “It’s a good thing, a vital thing, to consider what we’re willing to die for,” Chaput said in a lecture given to the Constitutional Studies Program at the university on Oct. 11. “To even ask that…Continue Reading

">

Does Pope Francis profess the Nicene Creed?

Did Pope Francis really really say that Jesus is not God? Eugenio Scalfari, who made this sensational claim, cannot be treated as a reliable witness. He is an atheist, a Marxist, not a Christian. Although he has interviewed Pope Francis several times, he has not recorded the sessions or taken notes. He boasts of the ability to reconstruct conversations from memory: a technique that would be inappropriate for any responsible journalist, let alone one of Scalfari’s…Continue Reading

Müller Accuses: From This Synod They Have Driven Out Jesus

The Synod on the Amazon has begun. “But it will have consequences for the universal Church,” warns Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in a lengthy interview with Matteo Matzuzzi for the newspaper “Il Foglio,” released on the very day of the opening of the work. “If one listens to the voices of some of the protagonists of this assembly, one understands easily that the agenda is entirely European.” European, and above all German. Also in Germany, in fact,…Continue Reading

">

Advertisement3

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… American Criminal Justice In Disarray

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Can Ruth Bader Ginsburg Make A Man Into A Woman?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate, www.creators.com, distributes his column.) + + + Judging by the argument that one lawyer made to Justice Neil Gorsuch, Tuesday, October 8 must have been an interesting day in the restrooms at the U.S. Supreme Court. “There are transgender…Continue Reading

This Bud’s For You

By DONALD DeMARCO The purpose of commercial advertising is to persuade consumers to purchase something that they do not need. This is not to say that advertising products are not useful, but to point out that they are inspired by sales and are not grounded in natural desires. By contrast, nature has equipped human beings…Continue Reading

Is Trump At Last Ending Our “Endless Wars”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The backstage struggle between the Bush interventionists and the America-firsters who first backed Donald Trump for president just exploded into open warfare, which could sunder the Republican Party. At issue is Trump’s decision to let the Turkish army enter Northern Syria, to create a corridor between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish…Continue Reading

A New And Orthodox Papal Document On Sacred Scripture

  By Fr. BRIAN W. HARRISON, OS Increasingly, over the six years of the Francis pontificate, a lot of us have been asking, wearily, “Can anything good come out of Domus Sanctae Marthae”? Well, something just did. Everyone watching Rome lately has been focusing on the Ominous Amazon — the synod starting this Sunday, October 6 [Editor’s…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Our Motive Must Be Love

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Exodus 17:8-13 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2 Luke 18:1-8 In the Gospel reading today, St. Luke describes a parable spoken by our Lord to teach us the importance of praying always without growing weary. In anything we do as human beings, we grow weary after a time. However, repeatedly doing…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . True Compassion Is Sharing Fullness Of Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK True love will always be found in the world through those who share the truth. This is at whatever cost to themselves in terms of the comforts of human respect or material gain. Selflessness of love speaks the word the other needs to hear in a disinterested way, regardless of the effect upon the one…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts recently issued a statement on climate change that repeats all of the propaganda from the global warming extremists. Could you look at this statement and tell me if you agree with me? — T.L.H., Massachusetts. A. Yes, we do agree and have written to the bishops stating our concerns about their statement. Here are…Continue Reading

The Phantom Of A German National Church Shows Itself

By WALTER CARDINAL BRANDMUELLER (Editor’s Note: Walter Cardinal Brandmueller’s October 1 statement appears below. Please see page 1A of this week’s issue for a news story about the statement. LifeSiteNews published both the story and the text. Maike Hickson translated Brandmueller’s text from the original German.) + + + “Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany’s Dome [Cathedral]” —…Continue Reading

Faith Is The Foundation For Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17 2 Tim. 2:8-13 Luke 17:11-19 Today, as we commemorate the anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima in 1917, we are reminded of the great love God has for us by bearing with us in our frailty and calling us back to Himself…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Borgia

By CAROLE BRESLIN The mere sight of the name Borgia brings to mind the family that was influential in both the Church and society — notorious for their political maneuvering and murder. But God can bring good out of evil and even from this family: Francis Borgia had great influence in the development of the Society of Jesus and served…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Martyrs Of Turon

  By CAROLE BRESLIN The complex roots of the Spanish Civil War (February 1936 to April 1939) sprouted many years before hostilities broke out. Little by little the Catholic Church had lost its influence and then it became a prime target for both the revolutionaries and the government. Of Church personnel, those executed during the Spanish Civil War included 12…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)