Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the relator general of the Amazon synod, sent a letter Monday to some ordinaries indicating that the apostolic exhortation on the synod should be promulgated this month or the next.
“The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated. Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February,” Cardinal Hummes, who is also president of the Pan Amazonic Church Network, wrote in a Jan. 13 letter.
Among the works of REPAM is “protection for the 137 ‘contactless tribes’ of the Amazon and affirmation of their right to live undisturbed.”
Cardinal Hummes said in his letter that Francis is preparing the exhortation “to present the New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology as developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit” during the Amazon synod.
According to Cardinal Hummes, the exhortation “is keenly awaited and will attract great interest and many different responses.”
The cardinal added that the pope wants ordinaries to receive the text “before it is published and before the world press starts to comment on it, and join him in presenting the Exhortation and making it accessible to the faithful, to fellow believers and all people of good will, and to the media, the academic world, and others in positions of authority and influence.”
Cardinal Hummes offered “some suggestions” to bishops on how to prepare well for the exhortation’s release. “The purpose is not to generate publicity or attract attention. Rather, it is quietly to support you the Ordinary, in communion with Pope Francis, as you prepare to receive the Exhortation and pass it on to the People of God in your jurisdiction.”
“Accordingly, with greatest freedom, please make use of the suggestions insofar as they seem helpful.”
The cardinal suggested that “a useful way of preparing would be to read some of the relevant earlier documents referenced below.” He promised that a second letter with more suggestions would be coming shortly.
Cardinal Hummes’ suggested reading for ordinaries is composed of: the Amazon synod’s final document; Pope Francis’ address at a meeting with indigenous people of Amazonia in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan. 19, 2018; the pope’s address at the opening of the Amazon synod, Oct. 7, 2019; his own address of the same day; the pope’s final speech to the synod of Oct. 26; and Laudato si’, the pope’s 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, especially its fifth and sixth chapters.
The synod’s final document called for the ordination of married men as priests, and for women to be considered for diaconal ordination. It presented the synod assembly’s reflections and conclusions on topics ranging from environmentalism, inculturation in the Church, and the human rights of indigenous communities in the face of economic, environmental, and cultural exploitation.
Four days before the final document was approved, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna indicated that it was to be written principally by a team chaired by Cardinal Hummes.
The cardinal noted that, of course, “there will be a celebratory and communications event” at the Vatican’s synod hall when the exhortation is promulgated.
He suggested that ordinaries “may also want to begin planning a press briefing or a press conference or other event as soon as convenient after the publication of the Exhortation.”
“you may find it opportune to have the Exhortation presented by yourself along with an indigenous spokesperson if relevant in your area, an experienced pastoral leader (ordained or religious, layman or laywoman), an expert on climate or ecology, and a youth involved in peer ministry.”
Cardinal Hummes asked that the letter be kept confidential, and not shared with the media.
“Please do respect the guidelines,” he added.
The letter was published Jan. 14 by LifeSiteNews in English, and by Aldo Maria Valli in Italian.
CNA understands the letter to have been sent to “concerned bishops” around the world. It was not sent to all ordinaries.
Cardinal Hummes concluded his letter “with the sincere hope that his letter has been helpful.”
He asked for prayers that God the Father would “dispose the People of God in the Amazon and throughout the world to receive it with faith and hope, intelligently and effectively.”
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