For Pope Francis, the renewal of the Church comes from those communities working to bring the Gospel alive at the peripheries, and not from what is traditionally seen as the centre.
It is for this reason that an “unprecedented” new structure established for the church in the Amazon, the Amazon Ecclesial Conference, is so significant. The new structure for an often forgotten part of the world has not been constituted as a bishops’ conference. Instead, it consists of a broader canvas and is the first time a local church leadership body includes women and indigenous representatives.
Mauricio Lopez, one of the architects of the conference, admits the new body is a “tiny thing” but says it points to the heart of Francis’ vision for a synodal, discerning Church. It has also been given the level of authority possible for a local ecclesial structure.
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With thanks to The Tablet and Christopher Lamb, where this article originally appeared.