Novena’s article uncovering ultraconservative ‘fake news’ on supposed German Amazon Synod funding has been receiving a lot of pushback on social networks.

Novena stands by the reporting of its editor, Cameron Doody.

Part of our vision at Novena, as clearly stated on our website, is “to raise the level of responsible, informed and culturally-sensitive public discourse and civic debate”.

We aim “to promote a platform not only for stimulating discussion but also for civil and reasoned debate where all voices can be heard”.

To that end, here we present the reasons why we at Novena wholeheartedly support the goals of October’s Synod for the Amazon.


Pax Christi gets behind Amazon Synod, denounces “economic violence that treats people and Earth as disposable”

The Synod, welcome change for the Church and wider society

The key to the Synod, as we see it at Novena, is the idea of giving an “Amazonian face” to both the Church and to wider society.

Beyond the caricatures, the Synod prepatory document explains this well.

Quoting from the Aparecida Document, it says:

“A Church with an Amazonian face must ‘seek a model of alternative, integral, and solidarity-based development, grounded on an ethical code that includes responsibility for an authentic, natural, and human ecology, which is the foundation for the gospel of justice, solidarity, and the universal destiny of earthly goods'”.

Now, this is a powerful idea in itself. But the real sting is in the next sentence:

“It means going beyond a utilitarian and individualistic logic that refuses to submit economic and technological powers to ethical criteria”.

In other words, the idea is that the Western World has trapped itself in this selfsame “utilitarian and individualistic logic”, and that the peoples of the Amazon offer us an alternative that we must pay attention to, because our very survival is at stake.

Hence the move to have the Amazon Synod in Rome, in the historical heart of Catholicism.

Put into this context, married priests and women deacons are logical outcomes.

How can we live out values like “alternative, integral and solidarity-based development”, “authentic, natural, and human ecology” or even “justice and solidarity” when we exclude, silence and invisibilise part of our humanity?

This kind of power underlies the “utilitarian and individualistic logic” that has led us to this crisis in which we now find ourselves in the Western world.

Characterising the paradigm shift the Synod is proposing as scary “change” and blaming that change on the boogeymen of the “German bishops” is an irresponsible distraction, especially given what’s at stake.

More on Novena:

Kasper slams “completely absurd” reports of secret Amazon Synod meeting

The idea is that the new economic and environmental relationships we so sorely need (and that the Amazon offers) – since late capitalism has led us to the disastrous state we’re now in – necesitates new social relationships.

New social relationships necesitate new Church relationships too, beyond structures of power and marginalisation.

That’s how we at Novena see the Church’s current celibate, all-male leadership. A structure of power and domination.

See also:

Pope condemns “blind and destructive mentality that favours profit over justice”