With a month to go before the start of the Synod of Bishops for Amazon, retired Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu said the Brazilian government should not fear the discussions to be held in Rome.
“The synod is for and by the bishops. Discussions will involve church issues, not sovereign state issues,” Krautler said in a national radio interview Sept. 4.
Since mid-August, Brazil has been embroiled in a crisis due to the widespread burning of the Amazon forest this year. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has insinuated that nongovernmental organisations, many international, were responsible for the increased burnings. He also has hinted that extensive media exposure is the work of “foreign powers” wanting to internationalise the forest.
Krautler said if government officials read Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” “the text explains how the Church views the environment situation.”
He said the Brazilian government’s concern about losing sovereignty over the Amazon region is exaggerated.
“The Amazon is of global interest,” he said, but added, “but it is not a question of sovereignty (rights). No one thinks the Amazon should be internationalised. That is absurd. I don’t know where they (government officials) got that idea from.”
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With thanks to Crux, Catholic News Service (CNS) and Lise Alves, where this article originally appeared.
The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region will be held in the Vatican from 6 to 27 October. For more information, click here.