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More than a year ago, Pope Francis presented to the world the Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazona”the result of the Synod of Bishops addressed to the people of God and to all people of good will. In this document, built with many hands, the Holy Father makes a strong call to save the Amazon.

The event, which brought together bishops, Catholic, religious, indigenous leaders, and activists from nine South American countries, had a significant impact on the thinking of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron of Ecology and a faithful companion of the Pope, who, in addition to admiring him, chose the same name for his ministry.It is worth mentioning that the Amazon Synod joins a set of actions of the Pontiff that ensure the care of the Common Home.

It is beautiful, lush and green. This is how we get used to seeing forests. However, behind the scenes, a high and accelerating level of deforestation is worrying. What the eyes of the rulers do not see, little by little, has generated innumerable consequences for all of Brazil and the world.

The entire planet has been given to us to inhabit wisely. Nature is a free inheritance that we receive from God and that we must cultivate. She is not a god, but a sign of the expression of goodness and beauty that emanates from the one true God. In addition, by violating nature, she becomes ill or seriously injured. What has been given to us as a blessing becomes a curse.

The destruction of the Amazon has had a great impact on the entire universe. The rain that occurs in the Amazon is important not only for the region. Assists in power generation, food production, and water supply in central, southern, and southeastern Brazil. For the more than 20 million Brazilians living in the Amazon, deforestation has never brought social development. On the contrary, around 85% of the country’s slave labor cases occur in deforested areas of the Amazon.

The Church can not remain silent in the face of this devastation of biodiversity and the abusive use of the land. Even today, there are many prophetic and courageous examples of Christians, missionaries, religious and “godparents” of the environment who have played an important role in the history of preserving forests and caring for life. Unfortunately, many are martyrs, such as Fr. Ezequiel Ramin, Sister Dorothy Stang, and Sister Cleusa Coelho. In these “Christian protagonists,” we see the prophetic story of those who fought for the rights of communities, indigenous peoples, and many other people who depend on the forest for their livelihood.

According to the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor, Brother Michael Perry, the cry of the peoples of the Amazon has a direct impact on actions related to ecology. It is necessary to remember that “to promote an integral ecology in daily life in the Amazon, it is also necessary to understand the notion of justice and intergenerational communication, which includes the transmission of ancestral experiences, cosmologies, spiritualities and indigenous theologies. peoples, around the care of the Common Home” (Instrumentum Laboris do Synod, 50).

There are many actions that the Church has taken in the fight against deforestation. Reaffirming its basic commitment to the peoples of the Panamazonia, the Church seeks to be an evangelizing presence, even with the small number of priests, men and women. In addition, the Church demands that governments respect Mother Earth, as defined by Saint Francis of Assisi and indicates the necessary forms of care for the Common Home. Jorge Mario Bergoglio echoes the Franciscan option and the call to an integral ecology that necessitates “a personal, social, and ecological conversion (cf. LS 210).”In addition, we lack public policies and our participation in the protection and conservation of nature. The guarantee of life on the planet requires a healthy relationship with the world and, above all, the integration between love of nature, God and creatures. Saint Francis of Assisi, patron of the environment, pray for us!


Augusto Luiz Gabriel, OFM
Immaculate Conception Franciscan Province