Pope Francis decries ‘predatory models of development’ in Amazon synod closing Mass

Vatican City, Oct 27, 2019 / 04:55 am (CNA).- Pope Francis denounced exploitation and “predatory models of development” that plunder the poor and wound “sister earth” in the Amazon Synod closing Mass Sunday.

“In this Synod we have had the grace of listening to the voices of the poor and reflecting on the precariousness of their lives, threatened by predatory models of development,” Pope Francis said in his homily Oct. 27.

“The mistakes of the past were not enough to stop the plundering of other persons and the inflicting of wounds on our brothers and sisters and on our sister earth: we have seen it in the scarred face of the Amazon region,” he said in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Francis said that throughout history people who have considered themselves superior to others have “made other people feel rejected” by “considering them backward and of little worth.”

“They despise their traditions, erase their history, occupy their lands, and usurp their goods,” he said.

“How much alleged superiority, transformed into oppression and exploitation, exists even today,” he added. “We have seen this in our discussions at the synod.”

The Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica served as the official close of the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian region, which took place at the Vatican Oct. 6-27. The synod final document approved by the 181 voting bishops Oct. 26 calls for the ordination of married men in the Amazon region, and an ecological conversion for the entire Church.

“How many times, even in the Church, have the voices of the poor not been heard and perhaps scoffed at or silenced because they are inconvenient,” the pope said.

Pope Francis’ crosier for the closing Mass was a gift from members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. A woman carried a plant in the opening procession as the choir sang St. Francis’ Canticle, “Laudato Si.” She later presented the plant to Pope Francis during the presentation of the gifts.

The controversial statues “symbolizing life” that the pope said might be displayed in the basilica for the closing Mass were not present.

Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel from Luke in which a Pharisee’s prayer is “I thank you God that I am not like the rest of humanity,” while a tax collector prays for the mercy of God.

“The root of every spiritual error, as the ancient monks taught, is believing ourselves to be righteous,” Francis warned.

The pope said that the pharisee was “brimming with self-assurance about his own ability to keep the commandments” and was focused only on himself, forgetting to love God and his neighbor.

“He stands in the temple of God, but the one he worships is himself,” Pope Francis said.

“There are many Catholic groups who do the same,” he added in a departure from his prepared remarks.

“Worship of self carries on hypocritically with its rites and ‘prayers,’ forgetting the true worship of God, and many of these have been Catholics, Catholics who have forgotten to express love to one’s neighbor. Even Christians who pray and go to Mass on Sunday are subject to this religion of the self,” he added.

Pope Francis said that the prayer of those who presume themselves righteous remains earthly, “crushed by the gravitational force of egoism,” while the prayer of the poor person rises directly to God.

“Let us pray for the grace not to consider ourselves superior, not to believe that we are alright, not to become cynical and scornful. Let us ask Jesus to heal us of speaking ill and complaining about others, of despising this or that person: these things are displeasing to God,” he said.

Catholic indigneous people from the Amazon were special guests at the Mass, as were members from the L’Arche community, an initiative that supports people with intellectual disabilities.

“Let us pray for the grace to be able to listen to the cry of the poor: this is the cry of hope of the Church. When we make their cry our own, our prayer too will reach to the clouds,” Pope Francis said.

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  1. How could any reasonable person say such a thing: ““The mistakes of the past were not enough to stop the plundering of other persons and the inflicting of wounds on our brothers and sisters and on our sister earth”. “Our sister earth”? Where in divine revelation is the earth considered our “sister”? Apparently PF has had some new divine revelation or maybe one of the demonic kind, or maybe, being charitable, he is suffering from dementia?

    • While I do not agree with everything Pope Francis says, his referring to the earth as our sister was used by St. Francis of Assisi. As Chesterton noted, Christians believe the Earth is our sister while Pagans believe it is our mother.

      • I get Chesterton’s point but when is the last time Sister Earth asked you over for dinner or sent you a Christmas card. I prefer St. Paul – the earth (creation) is groaning as it awaits its participation in the redemption of man. This is an attribution witout a personification.

  2. I am thinking next year, as a result of the synod, he will urge all Catholics to buy a Pachamama image as sign of solidarity with the oppressed sister earth of the Amazon,…

    and that the images be supplied from China so that religious prisoners there will know they are aiding the utopia which is just around the next corner.

  3. Look at that enormous wooden staff in the Pope’s hand! What beautiful tree was mercilessly cut down to satisfy man’s ego? Did Sister Earth give her permission for this assault, or is this just another example of man’s presumption of superiority? Shame!

  4. So it appears that the Pope says “Worship of self carries on hypocritically with its rites and ‘prayers,’ forgetting the true worship of God, and many of these have been Catholics” and then he says “Let us ask Jesus to heal us of speaking ill and complaining about others…” You just can’t get better comedy.

  5. Seriously folks? You’re going to criticize the Pope for quoting Saint Francis? Why stop there? What about all that OTHER crazy stuff he said? Criticizing self-righteous Pharisees? Telling us to take the beam from our own eye before we poke the mote in our brother’s eye? Who does he think he’s talking to? Buddhists?!?

    I really wish people would do a little more soul-searching before badmouthing our Pope. Some of the disrespect I see on line practically amounts to promoting schismatic thinking. And I know fifty people are going to jump in and tell me all the reasons that obedience doesn’t apply to THIS Pope. But really? Do you people ever step back and LISTEN to yourselves?

    I get that many people who comment on these forums have gotten themselves so worked up that they’re convinced they really are more Catholic than the Pope. But you might want to give just a moment of thought to the fact that Bergoglie is not a long-haired hippy but a respected and erudite theologian whose teachings are heavily derived from Romano Guardini — the same theologian who inspired much of Pope Benedict XVI’s thinking. In addition, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI both valued Bergoglio and tapped him for critical leadership positions — the kind of positions that potential future Cardinals and Popes get tapped for. In my opinion they did that for two reasons. One, because they saw him as having synthesized the best aspects of Liberation Theology with a coherent and morally compelling interpretation of the broad mainstream of 19th and 20th century Catholic theology. Second, they believed that his great personal piety and devotion to the poor embodied the spirit of the New Evangelization that the Church needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    Maybe both those Popes were wrong and you’re right. Maybe Francis really is the biggest disaster the Church has ever seen. But St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were pretty smart guys. And I also happen to believe that they were led by the Holy Spirit. So how about we just calm down, take a deep breath, trust the Holy Spirit — and have a little faith in all the Popes and cardinals involved in promoting and electing this Pope. Don’t you think it’s even remotely possible that they knew more about the real needs of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics than you do?

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