By Melissa Butz
For nearly a month, a daily topic in the synod hall has been a new “Amazonian Rite” for the Catholic Church. As the final document is currently being drafted, Synod fathers and indigenous peoples are debating how to make it a reality.
”Like all the churches that are part of the Christian faith, including the churches in Latin America, we need to be able to express our faith in our own schemes,” explained Father Eleazar López Hernández, an indigenous Catholic priest from Mexico.
Yet, two leaders from ethnic groups in the Amazon regions who are representatives at the Synod say this idea is nothing new.
“We already celebrate our own spirituality and live out our traditions, cultures, values. We live starting with evangelization and we are the result of evangelization,” argued Sister Mariluce Dos Santos Mesquita of Brazil’s Barassana ethnic community.
“From here, I see you restless. Perhaps you don’t understand what the Amazon really needs. We have our own cosmology and way to see the world, which brings us closer to God and nature,” added Delio Siticonatzi Camaiteri of Perù’s Ashaninca community.
These ethnic leaders say they are not asking for a new church or a different religion. They are
desiring that harmony — with nature, people and God — be incorporated into their spiritual life in a way that addresses the multi-ethnic and linguistic reality present in the Amazon basin.
The representatives from these ethnic groups said they want to be recognized by the Holy Father, but that like all Christian faiths, their main goal is for Christ to be at the center of it all.