Caritas Internationalis receives the post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia, calling it a new “Road Map” for the charitable action of the Church throughout the world. By highlighting the close link between care for creation and care for the human person, the Apostolic Exhortation calls for interconnected collaborative action with populations which are victims of social and economical injustices, making them protagonists of their own resilience.
“Caritas share the four great dreams of Pope Francis,” says Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, commenting on the release of Querida Amazonia, and continues “The Holy Father delivered today the Exhortation to the whole Church, hence also to the Caritas Confederation. Querida Amazonia confirms the action undertaken so far by Caritas and at the same time challenges the whole Caritas Family. The ‘four great dreams’ of Pope Francis set the Road Map for us to follow. Querida Amazonia clearly shows that caring for the environment and caring for the poor are ‘inseparable’ (cfr. n. 41-42)”.
For Caritas, first of all, the care for the people passes through proximity, a presence alongside those suffering from poverty, injustice, exclusion and oppression. This is the reason why since 2007, Caritas Brazil has launched a series of actions aiming at strengthening and consolidating its presence in all the states of Northern Brazil (Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Roraima, Rondônia, Tocantins, Pará and Amapá). In all the states of Brazilian Amazon, the work of Caritas is varied and mainly aimed at making local communities the protagonists of their own development.
Caritas accompanies indigenous communities in their fight for their rights and their distinctive cultural riches. Caritas Brazil Mulheres de Axé project in Manaus promotes the work of women and young people who find themselves in a situation of social vulnerability. It is also a work of advocacy such as this petition launched by Caritas Canada, immediately after the Synod last October, which to date has collected over 35,000 signatures in order to express solidarity with two indigenous communities threatened with extinction.
Caritas Internationalis has been committed for years to safeguarding the “sanctuary of biodiversity” that the Amazon represents through mobilizing national Caritas members, advocating internationally to tackle the causes of climate change and address its impacts, raising people’s awareness towards adopting a sustainable lifestyle respecting the environment.
Querida Amazonia has a universal value and will certainly guide the Caritas family when addressing similar situations in other regions of the world. The Apostolic Exhortation is also an invitation to renew our commitment to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ whose fifth anniversary will be celebrated next May.
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