We defined ourselves as Synod Mothers

Today, the press panel included Sr. Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara, M.M.I., of Colombia and Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler, O.F.M., of Brazil along with other members.

Sr. Ines was beautiful in her comments.

She said that the synod had become like family where she felt heard and trusted and where participants listened to the Amazon people and the suffering of the mother earth.

She was particularly touched when two indigenous members blessed Pope Francis.

Claiming their equality, Sr. Ines said that the women at the synod defined themselves as "Synod Mothers."

When asked about what the proposal for women deacons would mean to her, she said it would, "confirm our ministries, our baptism, and our work and presence throughout all this time with indigenous people."

Calling for the need to build a church with an Amazon face, she recalled Pope John Paul II's call to build indigenous churches "with their own liturgies".

She said we must take a lesson from indigenous theology that is rooted in thespiritual richness of the people of the Amazon.

And referring to the cruelty and accusations being hurled by right wing outlets that led to the theft and desecration of the sacred Pachamama, Sr. Ines reiterated a point made yesterday by Delio Siticonatzi Camaiteri, a member ofthe Ashaninca people, "You don't know us."

And she followed with Jesus' words as he was being crucified, saying we "forgive them for they know not what they are doing."

Her generous words brought to mind the beautiful image evoked by Rocco Palmo regarding the vandalism.

As trade-offs go, it would be one for the books – after traditionalist opponents of the Pope stole the much-ballyhooed statues of Amazonian women from a Roman church early yesterday and tossed them into the Tiber, actual Amazonian women could just emerge from the "river" of this Synod clad in thestole of Holy Orders.

What a stunning thought, and I hope a reality.

Bishop Knocks It Out of the Ballpark on Women Deacons

Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler, O.F.M offered the most lucid and compelling pitch for ordaining women deacons that I would venture to say has ever been heard at a synod. Here are his main points:

  • We need an official ministry for women in the church. Sixty percent of all ministry in the Amazon is led and coordinated by women. Women have a decisive presence today in the Amazon. In many cases, the people see a priest once or twice a year, but the Pope wants there to be a lived pastoral presence in the communities.
  • Evidence from the Hebrew Scriptures show women on par with men as judges, matriarchs, prophets, etc.
  • There is a huge presence of women throughout the history of the church. One of the most important women was Mary. And we have many women saints in the church...more women saints than men.
  • It is not for lack of holiness that we do not ordain women.
  • In the history of the church there were women deacons and that role should be expanded today.
  • Vatican II opened up the diaconate for men because it was recognized that they were doing diaconal work. The same is true of women. This is a topic that has to be taken up again, this time for women.
  • There is a path open for women to become deacons. Pope Benedict opened it in 2009 when he changed Canon Law to make it clear that thediaconate is a ministry of the word, liturgy, and charity -- a separate ministry from the priesthood.
  • Galatians says there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, female or male, but all are one in Christ Jesus.

The bishop was forceful and convincing. Case made! Now we need courage!

What is next?

Today, the participants were presented with the final document. It has been translated into all the languages, a real move forward from last year when thefinal document was only offered to the participants in Italian.

Tomorrow later in the afternoon, they will vote. That gives them time to study the document.

Last year, it was about 8pm CET when we received the news of the final vote.

This afternoon, 13 members were elected to a special council whose task it will be to implement the recommendations of the Amazon Synod.

There are 4 from Brazil, 2 from Bolivia, 2 from Colombia, 2 from Peru, 1 from Antilles, 1 from Venezuela, and 1 from Ecuador. Pope Francis will also choose 3 more.

A Good Day! Dancin' with Pachamama

I was ecstatic when I received the news that the sacred carvings ofPachamama have been recovered from the Tiber undamaged.

According to the press office, the Pope announced it late this afternoon in thesynod hall.

Pope Francis said,

I want to say a word about the statues of the pachamama that were taken from the church of the Transpontina - which were there without idolatrous intentions - and were thrown into the Tiber.

First of all, this happened in Rome, and as Bishop of the Diocese, I ask pardon of the persons who were offended by this act.

Then, I want to communicate to you that the statues which created such attention in the media, were retrieved from the Tiber. The statues were not damaged.

The Commander of the Carabinieri desires that you [the synod participants] should be informed of this recovery before the news is made public. At themoment, the news is confidential, and the statues are being kept in the Italian Carabinieri Commander's office.

The Commander of the Carabinieri has expressed his desire to follow up on any indications that you would like to give concerning the manner ofpublication of the news, and any other initiative you may want to take in this regard: for example, the Commander said, "the exhibition of the statues during the Holy Mass for the closing of the Synod."

We'll see.

I have delegated the Secretary of State to respond to this.

This is a bit of good news. Thank you.

First of all, I am glad to hear Pope Francis ask for pardon from our sisters and brothers in the Amazon. Secondly, I really love this Commander's idea! What a perfect way to undo the desecration at the hands of thieves and thedesecration from the mouths of conservative propagandists.

Let there be dancing with and around the sacred Pachamama!