The men and women of the Spanish Juan XXIII Association of progressive theologians have come out in defense of the Synod for the Amazon that starts this Sunday in Rome, convinced as they are that the event “will be a new Pentecost” for the Church.

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In a message this week, the Juan XXIII men and women said they were united with meet participants in “prayer, solidarity and commitment to the Earth”.

They added that they hoped “for the success of this momentous Synod”, which they said would put into practice Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on care for the environment, Laudato si’.

“We thank God for Pope Francis, who has brought a fresh and deeply evangelical breath of air to our Church”, said the theologians of the Juan XXIII Association.

They agreed with the pontiff that “the future of humanity and the Earth is linked to the future of the Amazon”.


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The Juan XXIII theologians denounced that the Amazon, like the Earth in general, has been plagued by “deforestation, huge forest fires, pollution and extractivist destruction”.

They added that these desecrations of the gift of Creation demand “an integral ecological conversion, in response to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor for their liberation”.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of a socioeconomic system that violates human rights and exploits and destroys natural resources in an irrational way, causing hunger in many people and contributing to global warming”, the theologians said.

The Juan XXIII members joined the Pope in his complaint that “the prevailing economic system is unfair at its root, and kills”.

“A change is urgently needed to take care of our Common Home, as is a new humanity of justice, freedom and fraternity-sorority, sign of the presence of the kingdom of God”, the theologians said.

Such a changes means opening “new paths in the Church through an ecological and decolonial theology and an intercultural application of the Gospel against colonialism, which is still alive and active”.

The Juan XXIII theologians called on the Church “to recognise and value indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant spiritualities, as well as to locate and exercise ministries and liturgy in this reality”.

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Why it matters

On a practical level, the integral conversion the Church is called to requires the priestly ordination of women and married men, the theologians said.

“It does not seem Gospel-like to us that many communities are left without the celebration of the Eucharist due to the lack of priests, nor that women are excluded from the different ecclesial ministries, including the priesthood”, the Juan XXIII thinkers deplored.

“The Spirit blows where and how it will”, the theologians concluded, before asking Synod participants “to be open to the Spirit’s inspiration” so as to become “a Samaritan and prophetic Church”.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.