The call from border communities is for new leadership, that will defend human dignity, offer compassion, work for justice, celebrate diversity. We must continue to reject hatred and violence, racism and xenophobia, and immigration and refugee policies that exclude and punish the most vulnerable among us.
An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and child behind chains, used during the process at the Catholic Day of Action against child detention in Newark, NJ (Sept. 2019)
At a time when we are witnessing our government build walls on the US – Mexico border and close the door to refugees and asylum-seekers everywhere, we need to pause and ask: “Why have our hearts grow so cold? Why are we so afraid?"
The military industrial complex and the fossil fuel industries are connected to one another. In relation to the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest there is one company, BlackRock Inc., which encompasses all the concerns of Amazon peoples.
Illegal logging on Pirititi indigenous amazon lands with a repository of round logs on May 8, 2018 (Felipe Werneck/Ibama via flickr via AP)
We are challenged in this moment to ensure our global economic systems treat the Amazon not as a commodity for our use but as an integral region that supports life on Earth. This is not an easy task, but our first step must be to recognise our deep connection to the Amazon, no matter where we live.
It is hoped that the synod may go some way towards achieving what science to date has not been able to; igniting a spark to overcome the political inertia that has resisted addressing this massive change. More and more, a prevailing belief is that a moral force is needed.
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“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced” (LS, 26).
Our faith calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable and persecuted. One way we can do that for the courageous people who defend our common home, especially indigenous communities, is by praying a "Novena for Earth Defenders."
The Synod of the Amazon is not only for Latin America, it is also for us on this side of world, and for the circle of life. It is indeed a Synod for life.
Copyright © 2021 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.