"There is nothing truly unexpected about the proposals that were presented on Monday during day two of the Amazon Synod. Among them were instituting new ministries for laymen and women, including 'the possibility of diaconal ordination for women,' and creating a new Catholic rite, the 'Amazonian rite,' that would probably include the ordination of married men and an inculturated 'Mass' of which several rituals performed these last few days by indigenous Amazonians in and around the Vatican could be a foretaste.
All of these innovations were clearly present in the Instrumentum laboris...
But while the Instrumentum laboris repeatedly called for a church with an Amazonian face, this is apparently the first time that there has been a public appeal for a new Amazonian rite within the church. In fact, this proposition was not present in any press briefings in different languages. This point was reserved for the Spanish communiqué.
The communiqué, which has apparently not been published online, was quoted by ACIPrensa (the Spanish service of Catholic News Agency) and by Religión Digital, a major progressive Spanish-speaking religious news service.
Speaking of the 'Synod fathers (and mothers)' Jesús Bastante of Religión Digital said the proposal to create an 'Amazonian Catholic rite' was the 'star position' during afternoon discussions on Monday in the Synod Hall.
These indigenous rites, according to the Vatican note, could be instituted ad experimentum, that is for a theoretically limited time in order to test their usefulness. 'The Church considers with benevolence all that is not linked to superstition in order to harmonize it with the true liturgical spirit,' explained the note.
'From there, the suggestion to have in Amazonia a sharing process regarding the experience of indigenous communities that have enculturated celebrations for certain sacraments such as baptism, matrimony or priestly ordination. (…) One of the proposals that was presented involves thinking about establishing – ad experimentum and following the right theological, liturgical and pastoral discernment – a Catholic Amazonian rite in order to live out and celebrate faith in Christ,' according to the note as quoted by ACIPrensa.
'Fundamentally, it was underscored in the Aula, in the same way that exists an environmental ecosystem, there also exists an ecclesial ecosystem.'
What would an Amazonian rite look like? The ceremony of the planting of an oak tree in the Vatican Gardens last Friday under the eyes of Pope Francis and in the context of an easily identifiable indigenous ritual to the Mother Earth gives a number of indications.
The leading role was played by a woman – an important point – raising her hands in prayer facing a blanket on which many Amazonian objects had been placed, including two statuettes of naked pregnant women, one of which is now referred to by some journalists in Rome as 'Our Lady of the Amazon' as it pops up repeatedly in churches where Masses linked to the synod are being celebrated, including St. Peter’s Basilica.
During that ritual in the Vatican Gardens, participants prostrated themselves toward the blanket and figurines.
They did so again in Santa Maria in Traspontina, at the bottom of the Via della Conciliazione leading to St. Peter, that same day, surrounding the same blanket with symbolic offerings (to Mother Earth?) during a prayer vigil in view of the Synod. The event included woman executing a barefoot dance with what appears to be the New Testament, in the nave of the church, in the presence of priests and religious.
What is especially worrying about these obviously religious events is that they are not purely pagan ceremonies – which would be bad enough – but that Christian elements, such as prayers to Christ and signs of the cross are included, creating a syncretistic pseudo-Catholic rite that is orientated not toward Our Lord but toward pagan artifacts..."
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