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Bolsonaro nervous about Pope Francis' synod

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By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/23/2019 (2 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Bolsonaro administration concerned with 'leftist agenda.'

Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro is concerned about Pope Francis' upcoming Synod for the Amazon. Bolsonaro is concerned that the synod's "leftist agenda" could "embarass" Brazil. 

Pope Francis' upcoming synod will focus world attention on the Amazon once again in October.

Pope Francis' upcoming synod will focus world attention on the Amazon once again in October.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
9/23/2019 (2 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Brazil, synod, October, Pope Francis, Bolsonaro


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - It appears President Jair Bolsonaro is more likely to be embarrassed by ideas than by the burning Amazon. Bolsonaro and administration officials have spoken publicly against the upcoming Synod for the Amazon, which begins on October 6. 

The synod, called by Pope Francis is intended to discuss issues which confront the region, including a shortage of priests. Problems in the region are exacerbated by the tremendous distances which each priest must travel as they go from parish to parish, serving tiny Catholic communities. 

The synod will also also be a place to discuss environmental issues, such as the management of the Amazon and its resources. While none argue the resources of the Amazon should not be utilized, many argue they should not be plundered. At present, the Bolsonaro is opening much of the Amazon for economic development, including former regions set aside for indigenous people. This means those people will be displaced and massive swathes of habitat destroyed. During the past several months, large-scale fires in the Amazon have attracted global, public outcry and even the attention of NASA, the Pope, and many environmental agencies. 

The pursuit of profit in the Amazon is becoming an embarrassment for Brazil because it is brutal and irresponsible. 

However, President Bolsonaro is more concerned with what his administration calls Pope Francis' "leftist agenda." By leftist, he is referring to a care for the people who live in the Amazon as well as responsible stewardship of the resources rather than open season. 

Bishop Adolfo Zon explained the agenda saying, "We must use, but not abuse Amazonia." 

However, fearing public backlash led by priests, several clergy have been put under state surveillance. General Augusto Heleno, the nation's security minister said, "We are worried and want to neutralize this thing." He referred to the synod as having a "leftist agenda."

Another general, Eduardo Boas claimed the synod would, "certainly be exploited by environmentalists." 

Jair Bolsonaro is himself Catholic, so it is surprising to hear him speak against the Church, however critics point out that he has aligned himself with Brazil's conservative Pentecostal church. He accused the Pope and others of perversion, saying "every foreign pervert wants to get their hands on [the Amazon]."

The Amazon basin and its forests are a critical ecosystem, which the world relies upon for taking up CO2, and releasing oxygen. While it is popularly believed the Amazon may be responsible for as much as 20 percent of the world's oxygen production, scientists have recently pointed out that such a figure is exaggerated. Still, the Amazon is a major reservoir of CO2, and the burning of the forests will accelerate the growth of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. 

Of greatest importance is the fate of millions of indigenous people who live in the Amazon. Watchdog groups as well as the native people themselves claim that outsiders are attacking the people and killing them in an attempt at genocide. Once the people are gone, there will be much less justification for preserving the land in its natural state. 

The synod will bring attention to these issues and many others, and it will embarrass the Bolsonaro regime. However, if the government is concerned about embarrassment, then perhaps it should pursue different policies. 

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