Vatican Synod on Amazon Proposes Recognition of ‘Ecological Sins’

Pope Francis looks on as he arrives on stage for the weekly general audience on October 9, 2019 at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

ROME — Participants in the Vatican synod on the Amazon region proposed adding “sins against the environment” to lists of traditionally recognized sins in their second day of discussions and deliberations.

Synod fathers called for an “ecological conversion” that would allow people to see “the gravity of sins against the environment as sins against God, against our neighbour, and against future generations,” Vatican News reported Wednesday.

“This would imply a need to produce and spread more widely a theological literature that would include ‘ecological sins’ alongside traditional sins,” the report stated.

The working document of the Amazon Synod frames the entire question of the Church’s renewal in the region in terms of the environment, proposing “New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”

In order to be “ever more synodal,” the Church must listen “to the peoples and to the earth by coming into contact with the abundant reality of an Amazon full of life and wisdom but also of contrasts,” the text states.

“It continues with the cry that is provoked by destructive deforestation and extractivist activities and that demands an integral ecological conversion,” it says.

Again and again the document directs synod members to turn their attention to the cries of the earth and to “convert.”

“The aggression towards this vital zone of Mother Earth and its inhabitants threatens their subsistence, their culture and their spirituality,” it proclaims. “It also affects the life of all humanity, particularly the poor, the excluded, the marginalized, the persecuted. The present situation calls urgently for an integral ecological conversion.”

“The culture of the Amazon, which integrates human beings with nature, constitutes a benchmark for building a new paradigm of integral ecology,” it declares.

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