(The Federalist) The Amazon Synod’s bishops eulogize indigenous people, and this idealization is, at heart, an inversion of the bishops’ grudge against the West. It is as risible as it is dishonest.
The Vatican’s Amazon Synod is done. But its’ mischief lives on in the ideological distortions of its final document, Amazonia: New Ways For The Church And For A Holistic Ecology. The crudity of its j’accuse against the developed world disfigures classical Christian stress on responsibility to the poor.
A fusion of reflexive leftism and religious idiom, Amazonia: New Ways is a showpiece of crisis-mongering, nature mysticism, and hostility toward technological development. The text clamors for “environmental conversion,” a demand built on overwrought borrowings from the climate change script (e.g., the rainforest is in “an unbridled race to death”).
Militant ecology and social justice are believed to be “intrinsically linked.” Consequently, promotion of “social transformation” — also known as activism — is a necessary aim of education. In sum, the synod provides a syllabus for rancor toward the West, its supporting structures, and its people.
Amazon Synod Idealizes Indigenous Peoples
The document repeats Pope Francis’ animus toward fossil fuels, which he delivered last year to a conference of oil executives and investors: “The use of energy should not destroy civilization!” Jabs at “predatory extractivism,” in tandem with other ecological sins, are a recurring refrain.
In the dock are fossil fuels, plastics, and Western eating habits (“excess consumption of meat and fish/shellfish”). The developed world must atone with “more sober lifestyles.” Shrill demand for “radical energy transition” accompanies support for divestment campaigns against “extractive companies.” There is an urgent call for “new economic resources” — read taxes — as penance for Western affluence.
Most worrisome is the text’s preoccupation with aboriginal ethnicity (“peasants, people of African descent, mestizos, river dwellers”) and the glorification of tribal cultures unsoiled by modernity. Young Amazonians must be educated “for solidarity” in the romance of “a common origin.” In this context, it is a short walk to the enthusiasms of blood and soil.
Insistence on an “Indian theology, theology with an Amazonian face,” follows earlier liberation theologies, such as black theology and Palestinian liberation theology. In practice, each variation affirms the primacy of race, distorting the concept of the people of God (and was therefore consequently condemned by the previous Pope, Benedict). Amazonia: New Ways explicitly moves their own goal posts from the “preferential option for the poor” (a liberationist trope established in Medellín, Colombia in 1968) to a “preferential option for indigenous peoples.” Implicit in that swap is what Pascal Bruckner called “the racism of the anti-racists.”
Idealization of “original peoples” is at heart an inversion of the bishops’ grudge against the West.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Maureen Mullarkey at The Federalist, image and title changed.]
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