Amazon Synod Working Document Criticized for Serving ‘Neo-Pagan Agenda’
The working document for the upcoming synod of bishops on the Amazon region represents a “total opening of the gates of the Magisterium to Indian theology and eco-theology” which includes “clearly pagan” and “pantheistic elements of belief,” a Chilean author has said.
José Antonio Ureta of the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, part of the Tradition, Family and Property movement founded the eponymous Catholic thinker, said the new document opens the Church up to these two theologies which are “two Latin American derivatives of liberation theology.”
Like liberation theology, he added, the working document’s starting point is not Christian Revelation but rather the “supposed ‘oppression’ in the Amazon region, making it a “privileged interlocutor” and a “source of God’s revelation” — quotes from the working document itself.
He noted that the document, called an instrumental laboris which forms the basis for the discussions at the Oct. 6-27 synod, exalts Indian theology to such an extent that it limits the Church to “dialoguing” with the indigenous people rather than seeking their conversion, and calls on the Church to “enrich herself with clearly pagan and / or pantheistic elements of belief.”
“Not even witchcraft is sidelined in this enrichment,” Ureta added, partly because it states that “indigenous rituals and ceremonies are essential for integral health.”
But he believes a “real earthquake” is the document’s paragraph no. 127 where it states:
Ureta said the passage calls into question a structure of the Church, between clergy and laity, which has been affirmed since the First Council of Nicaea, obscuring the “essential difference” between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood of clerics.
“The latter is rooted in the apostolic succession and endowed with a sacred power,” he reaffirmed.
This “dilution” of the Catholic priesthood, he continued, naturally leads to a reconsideration of priestly celibacy (the document invites a study of ordaining elders with families), and “even worse,” he said, a passage in the document calling for an “official ministry” for women.
Ureta added that “from an ecological point of view,” the instrumentum laboris shows an acceptance for the “deification of nature” promoted in UN conferences on the environment since at least 1972.
“This neo-pagan UN agenda is now proposed by a Synodal Assembly of the Catholic Church,” Ureta said.
He went on to say that the working document is also “an apology” for the “worst kind” of communism, “disguised as communitarianism,” and in the form of “collectivism of small communities.”
And he added that the indigenous philosophy of “good living” (sumak kawsay), which figures highly in the working document, assumes an “intercommunication between the whole cosmos, in which no one excludes or is excluded” and proposes a communitarian lifestyle where “feeling, thinking and acting” are the same.
Ureta concluded by saying that it is a reminder of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s denunciation of indigenous tribalism as a “new and even more radical stage of the Anarchist Revolution,” one which ends up “devouring freedom” as independent thought, will and ways of being are “merged” into the “collective personality of the tribe.”
“The instrumentum laboris is nothing short of an invitation for humanity to take a fatal step towards the final abyss of the anti-Christian Revolution,” Ureta warned.
Antiquated and Inchoate Assumptions
Further criticism of the document came from Margaret Petito, president of non-profit Friends of Rule of Law in Ecuador, Inc., who said the document is “based on antiquated, inchoate political assumptions” and, in a “dysfunctional” way, “lacks observable, verifiable real time facts about the large region of the world it portends to assist.”
She added that “however well-intentioned the instrumentum laboris may appear, its substance precludes actual Christian practice in Latin America, now noticeably in crisis.” The document, she believes, “does nothing” to address the “real crises” in the region.
At yesterday’s press conference, veteran Italian Vaticanista Sandro Magister asked why the document speaks both positively and negatively of Pentecostalism, but only positively about the indigenous religions. He noted that it makes no mention of cannibalism or infanticide practiced by some tribes.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, responded by stressing the positive “values” of the traditional religions, adding that preaching the Gospel to the indigenous tribes “purifies” them.
Petito believes it is “utter balderdash” to portray the pre-colonial peoples of the region as “happy-clappy” people “in harmony with nature.” She added that the Incas, the Latin American Indians living in the region before the Spanish conquest and from which Indian theology is derived, “ruled with a fierce, cruel Stalinesque totality from Venezuela through Chile.”
“Death was the Incan primary god and all existed as slaves to serve the central state,” Petito explained.
Asked if, as Ureta and others believe, the synod is potentially a “platform” to launch a “new syncretic Church” which mixes Christianity with the pagan religion of the region’s indigenous people, Cardinal Baldiserri told reporters on Monday he did not see “elements” in the working document that would “suppose the existence of syncretism.”
He said it “expresses the Church’s true doctrine” in the Amazonian “context” while “opening avenues for a more incisive evangelization.”
The cardinal also told reporters there are “many versions” of liberation theology, not all of which are negative, and that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger produced two documents examining the theology. In any case, he said, the instrumentum laborisis just a “preliminary” document for the synod.
The assembly of bishops promises to show the “image of a Church with an Amazonian face,” Cardinal Baldisseri said, “courageous in its prophetic proclamation of the Gospel in defence of Creation and of indigenous peoples.”
This is the “horizon towards which we walk under Pope Francis’ guidance,” he said, “to share an experience of fraternal communion, collegiality and synodality.”
Here below is José Antonio Ureta’s full statement:
The Church at the Service of the Neo-Pagan Agenda
The Instrumentum laboris of the coming Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, made public this morning, represents a total opening of the gates of the Magisterium to Indian Theology and Ecotheology, two Latin American derivatives of Liberation Theology. After the collapse of the USSR and the failure of “real socialism”, the advocates of Liberation Theology (LT), on the Marxist style, attributed the historic role of revolutionary force to indigenous peoples and to nature.
Like LT, the Instrumentum laboris does not take the Revelation of God contained in the Bible and in Tradition as the basis for its ruminations, but rather the supposed “oppression” to which the Amazon is said to be subject. Thus, from a simple geographical and cultural area, the Amazon becomes a “privileged interlocutor,” a “theological place,” “an epiphanic place,” and a “source of God’s revelation: (n° 2, 18 and 19).
From a theological point of view, the Instrumentum laboris not only recommends the teaching of Indian Theology “in all educational institutions” for “a better and greater understanding of indigenous spirituality” and to “take into consideration myths, traditions, symbols, knowledge, rites and original celebrations” (n ° 98). It also repeats all its postulates throughout the document. That is to say, the “seeds of the Word” are present not only in the aboriginal people’s ancestral beliefs, but they have “grown and given fruit” (n° 120) so that the Church, instead of her traditional evangelization that seeks conversion, must limit herself to “dialoguing” with Indians as “the active subject of inculturation are the indigenous peoples themselves” (No. 122).
In this intercultural dialogue, the Church must also enrich herself with clearly pagan and / or pantheistic elements of beliefs such as “faith in God the Father-Mother Creator,” “relations with ancestors,” “communion and harmony with the earth” (n ° 121) and connection with “the various spiritual forces” (n ° 13). Not even witchcraft is sidelined by this “enrichment”. According to the document, “The richness of the flora and fauna of the forest contains real ‘living pharmacopoeias’ and unexplored genetic principles” (No. 86). In this context, “Indigenous rituals and ceremonies are essential for integral health because they integrate the different cycles of human life and nature. They create harmony and balance between human beings and the cosmos. They protect life from the evils that can be caused by both humans and other living beings. They help to cure diseases that damage the environment, human life and other living beings” (No. 87).
On the ecclesiological level, the Instrumentum laboris is a real earthquake that undermines the hierarchical structure that the Church has by Divine mandate. In the name of “incarnation” in the Amazon culture, the document invites us to reconsider “the idea that the exercise of jurisdiction (power of government) must be connected in all areas (sacramental, judicial, administrative) and permanently to the Sacrament of Order” (No. 127). It is inconceivable for the Synod’s working document to call into question a doctrine of Faith as is the distinction, in the structure of the Church, between clergy and laity, which has been affirmed since the First Council of Nicaea and is based on the essential difference between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood of clerics. The latter is rooted in the apostolic succession and endowed with a sacred power.
Along with this dilution of the Catholic priesthood, which becomes somewhat similar to that of a Protestant pastor, comes a call to reconsider the obligatory nature of celibacy and, even worse, to identify what kind of “official ministry” can be conferred on women (§ 3 ). Cardinal Joseph-Albert Malula, from Zaire, and Most Rev. Samuel Ruiz, of the Diocese of Chiapas, will have turned in their graves upon seeing that the projects they tried to achieve (which the Vatican quickly rejected) are now proposed by a Synod, which according to its organizers, has a certain universal dimension.
From an ecological point of view, the Instrumentum laboris represents the Church’s acceptance of the deification of nature promoted by the UN conferences on the environment.
In fact, official UN documents, already in 1972, claimed that man has mismanaged natural resources mainly due to “a certain philosophical conception of the world.” While “pantheistic theories … attributed part of the divinity to living beings … scientific discoveries led to … a kind of desacralization of natural beings,” the best justification of which is reaffirmed “in the Judeo-Christian conceptions according to which God created man in his image and gave him the earth to subdue.” Conversely, the UN said, practicing the cult of ancestors “constituted a bulwark for the environment, since trees or water courses were protected and revered as a reincarnation of ancestors” (Aspects éducatifs, sociaux et culturels des problèmes de l’environnement et questions de l’information, UN General Assembly, Stockholm, June 5-6 1972, A/CONF.48.9, p. 8 & 9).
In the closing speech of Rio 92 in Rio de Janeiro, the then-UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared that “for the ancients, the Nile was a god that was worshiped, as was the Rhine, an infinite source of European myths, or the Amazon rainforest, mother of all forests. Everywhere, nature was the home of gods. They gave the forest, the desert, the mountain, a personality that imposed adoration and respect. The Earth had a soul. Finding it, resurrecting it: this is the essence [of the Intergovernmental Conference] in Rio.” (A / CONF.151 / 26, vol. IV, p. 76).
And this neo-pagan UN agenda is now proposed by a Synodal Assembly of the Catholic Church!
Citing a document from Bolivia, the Instrumentum laboris states that, “the forest is not a resource to be exploited, it is a being or more beings with which to relate” (n ° 23); it continues by stating that “The life of the Amazon communities still unaffected by the influence of Western civilization [sic], is reflected in the beliefs and rituals regarding the action of spirits, of the divinity – called in so many names – with and in the territory, with and in relation to nature. This cosmovision is summarized in the “mantra” of Francis: ‘everything is connected’” (n ° 25).
From the socio-economic point of view, the Instrumentum laboris is an apology of communism, disguised as “communitarianism”. Moreover, it is the worst form of communism: the collectivism of small communities. In fact, according to the document the aborigines’ project of “good living” (sumak kawsay) assumes that “there is an intercommunication between the whole cosmos, in which no one excludes or is excluded.” The explanatory note on the indigenous word refers to a declaration by various indigenous entities, titled “The Cry of the Sumak Kawsay in Amazonia,” which states that the word “is an oldest and newest Word” (with a capital W in the text; that is, a Divine Revelation) which proposes “a communitarian lifestyle with one and the same FEELING, THINKING AND ACTING” (capital letters also from the original).
This phrase reminds us of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s denunciation, in 1976, that indigenous tribalism was a new and even more radical stage of the Anarchist Revolution: “Structuralists see tribal life as an illusory synthesis between the apex of individual freedom and consensual collectivism, in which the latter ends up devouring freedom. According to structuralism, in this collectivism the various ‘I’s and individual persons, with their thought, will, sensibility and ways of being, characteristic and discrepant, are merged and dissolved in the collective personality of the tribe, which generates an intensely common thinking, will, and way of being.”
The Instrumentum laboris is nothing short of an invitation for humanity to take a fatal step towards the final abyss of the anti-Christian Revolution.
Translated from the Spanish by James Bascom