Monday, October 7, 2019

Amazon Synod Opening "Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for Integral Ecology" Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary - Full Text


#SinodoAmazonico - 1st General Congregation: Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary, 07.10.2019 (FULL Video at Bottom of Post)


At 9.00 this morning, in the presence of the Holy Father Francis, the 1st General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region began in the Synod Hall in the Vatican, on the theme: "Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology "(6-27 October 2019).

We publish below the Report that the Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, gave at the opening of the synodal works, after the speech of the Holy Father Francis:

Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri

Most Holy Father,
Eminences, Excellencies,
Brothers and sisters,

It is with immense joy that I take the floor in this inaugural session of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region, gathered in the name of Jesus Christ and dedicated to the theme "Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology". I warmly thank Your Holiness for having wanted to entrust to the Synod of Bishops the reflection on a subject of such extraordinary importance for the Church that lives in Panamazzonia and for the present and the future of all humanity. My thanks also include a special gratitude for the recent appointment of the Pro-Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops in the person of the Most Honest Mario Grech, to whom I address a cordial and fraternal welcome. He embodies himself in our synodal path by joining me in the guidance of the General Secretariat and is therefore counted among Members of this worthy Synod.

The theme assigned by Your Holiness to this Special Assembly discloses vast horizons to reflect deeply on the Amazon, that garden of immense riches and natural resources, mother earth of indigenous peoples with a history and an unmistakable face, territory extremely threatened by ambition huge man instead of being treated.

Under the guidance of the Spirit we want to go in search of new paths to correspond to a double objective. On the one hand, the Synod constitutes a real challenge for the Church, since the Amazon is a mission land with its own characteristics that require adequate proposals to respond to the "need to evangelize cultures to inculturate the Gospel" ( EG 69). On the other hand, the synodal assembly will have to face the provocation advanced by the environmental question. The Church intends to respond to this with an integral ecology that, as Your Holiness has taught us, "requires openness to categories that transcend the language of the exact sciences or of biology and connect us with the essence of the human" (LS 11).

The Synod Assembly, which today is entering into its celebratory phase, is also a real challenge for all the People of God, Pastors and flocks, and in particular for all of us who have received, as a gift from Providence, the call to participate. To have the precise orientation of this synodal path, it is opportune to recall what the Holy Father has indicated, from the beginning of this convocation, namely: "to identify new ways for the evangelization of that portion of the People of God, especially of the indigenous, often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazon forest, a lung of capital importance for our planet ". [1] Consequently, not only must we, first and foremost, listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, as it is there that the voice of the Spirit is heard that speaks through the People of God in the Amazon, but we must also respond with heart of pastors to their problems through appropriate proposals and good suggestions to the Holy Father.

In introducing the synodal works, I would also like to address a cordial greeting to the Members and other participants of this Special Panamazonic Assembly, who have come from all the particular Churches of that Region, distant in distance but close in our hearts. With this Synod, the universal Church, through its Pastors cum Petro and sub Petro, in the person of Pope Francis, wants to pay particular attention to all the members of the People of God in the Amazon and to commit themselves decisively to the search for new and proportionate ways to the their human and pastoral needs.

1) The specific characteristics of a Special Assembly
Before entering the actual celebratory path of this synodal assembly it is important to remember that we are celebrating a synod with particular characteristics, not only because of the specificity of the theme, but also because it is a special assembly. Therefore, it is not a matter of an Ordinary General Assembly, such as the one on the family and young people (2015 and 2018 respectively), not even an Extraordinary General Assembly, like that first Synod on the family (2014).
This, instead, is a Special Assembly, a typology of Synod that, according to the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio, is convened in a Special Assembly, for "dealt with matters that concern more one or more specific geographical areas" (Art. 1, 3). Furthermore, the Synod Instruction provides for Art. 20 that the Regulations of the Special Assembly may provide that the commissions, bodies and methods may be established, case by case, according to the particular characteristics of each Assembly of this type.

The peculiarities of a Special Assembly concern two aspects: the criteria for participation, and the modality of the three synodal phases: the preparatory, the celebratory and the application. As for the criteria for participation, they are established in analogy with the other types of synodal assemblies, but taking into account the geographical, cultural and ecclesial specificity of the area in question, in this case the vast region called Panamazzonia. This explains first of all that one of the criteria established since the beginning is the participation of all the Ordinaries - those equivalent to them according to the law - of the Amazonian ecclesiastical districts or those that have an Amazon territory, to which the Auxiliaries have also been added. Therefore, it is not a partial representation of the Bishops, as happens in the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assemblies, but in this case they are all, precisely all the prelates of the region, to be summoned. This criterion intends to further highlight the effective and affective collegiality, which is the spirit of that distinctive characteristic of the synodal institution, defined precisely as "synodality".

Secondly, every Special Assembly, even if it concerns a specific geographical area, is always a Synod that concerns the Universal Church. For this reason, participation was extended to prelates from other particular Churches and regional and continental ecclesial bodies. In other words, it is the whole universal Church that wants to turn its gaze to the Church in the Amazon and take to heart what its challenges, concerns and problems are, because in the end we must all feel part of this global village in which it lives and the one Church of Jesus Christ throbs. Therefore, the Special Assembly for the Panamazonic Region is an expression of the concern of the whole Church for the people of God in that region, because, even in the Church, "everything is connected" (LS 91), as Your Holiness often teaches us , and as the Apostle Paul states "if one member suffers, all the members suffer together; and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with him "(1 Co 12,26).

For this reason, the Special Assembly, even if it concerns a specific region, is celebrated in Rome, the See of Peter's Successor, and not in some cities of the Panamazzonica Region, as a purely worldly vision might suggest. Here the perspective is different, it is that of faith, which invites us to look at the Church in its universality and at the same time in its realization at the local level. It is a Synod that has set the whole universal Church in motion, on the Synod and in prayer under the guidance of her Supreme Pastor. This is what we wanted to highlight with this morning's procession, which started from the altar of Peter's Confession in the Vatican Basilica up to the door of the Paul VI Hall.

2) The participants of the Special Assembly
Altogether, 185 Synod Fathers take part in this Synod: 137 ex officio of which 113 from the Pan-Amazonian ecclesiastical circumscriptions; 13 Heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia; all the members of the pre-Synodal Council. Furthermore, there are 15 religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, and 33 former members of the pontifical nomination.

Among the Synod Fathers there are 28 Cardinals, 29 Archbishops, 63 residential Bishops, 7 Auxiliaries, 27 Apostolic Vicars and 10 Prelate Bishops, 21 non-members of the episcopal order between diocesan and religious.

Given that the Panamazzonica Region extends over the territory of nine nations (French Guiana, Cooperativist Republic of Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru), the ex officio Synod Fathers who come from that Region belong to 7 Conferences Episcopals: Antilles, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru. Thus, among the 113 Synod Fathers of the Pan-Amazonian ecclesiastical circumscriptions there are 3 from the Antilles, 6 from Venezuela, 13 from Colombia, 7 from Ecuador, 57 from Brazil, 11 from Bolivia, 10 from Peru, as well as the respective Presidents of the aforementioned Conferences Episcopal.
The 33 members of pontifical appointment come from all continents, in particular from countries and geographical areas involved in the same problems that constitute the subject of the synodal theme; such as the Congo river basin. Thus, this Assembly wants to reflect the wide spectrum of cultural and ecclesial realities in which sensibilities are reflected and the voices of different ethnic groups and original peoples resound as well as the breath of a living Church that has so much to give and to receive.

I take this opportunity to cordially greet the 6 Fraternal Delegates, representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whose presence revives in us the will to work together to achieve the full visible unity of the Church of Christ, in the awareness that the Holy Spirit arouses continually new paths and opens new doors to announce and bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Amazon and throughout the world.

Also significant is the presence of 12 special guests - never so many in a special assembly - who have been chosen for the synod works because of their high scientific competence and also for belonging to organizations and associations throughout the world, outside and inside the Church, they are interested in various ways in various activities related to humanitarian assistance and the ecological care of the environment.

My heartfelt thanks also extend to the 25 Experts, appointed by virtue of their expertise to contribute to the synodal work as collaborators of the Special Secretaries, and to the 55 Auditors and Auditors, including specialists and pastoral workers from the most important corners remote of the Panamazzonico territory. Among them emerges the presence of 16 representatives of different indigenous ethnic groups and original peoples who carry the voice, the living testimony of the traditions, culture and faith of their populations. Thanks to all of them! No less significant is the presence among the Sisters of as many as 10 nuns presented by the International Union of Superiors General (U.I.S.G.), bearing witness to the important role that women's consecrated life plays in the Amazon.

Finally, a special thanks to the Assistants, Translators, Technical Staff, as well as to the Consultors, Officials and Collaborators of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, who - under the guidance and coordination of the Most Holy Under-Secretary, Mons Fabio Fabene - they have worked with competence and spirit of service in the preparation and celebration of the Assembly.

3) The preparation of this Synodal Assembly
The present Special Assembly takes place at the end of a long journey, begun with the decision of the Holy Father, on October 15, 2017, to convene a Synod of Bishops on the theme: Amazonia, new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology. The first meeting of the General Secretariat with the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) in Puerto Maldonado took place a few months after the launch of the Synod Assembly. From the beginning, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network have worked together in a spirit of communion and synergy to carry forward the preparatory phase of the Synod.

On 9 March 2018, the Holy Father then formed the Special Pre-Synodal Council of the General Secretariat, including several prelates, two religious and a lay person, belonging to the aforementioned Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM). This Council has met twice: the first on 12 and 13 April 2018 to prepare the Preparatory Document and the second from 14 to 15 May 2019 to elaborate the Instrumentum laboris, which will be our reference text in the celebratory phase of the Synod up to the elaboration of the Final Document Project.

With the publication of the preparatory document, the great consultation with the people of God in the Amazon was launched on the subject of the Synod. The questionnaire attached to the Preparatory Document gave occasion to a rich debate within the seven Episcopal Conferences involved in the Panamazzonica Region, which then sent their answers to the General Secretariat. Furthermore, with the collaboration of REPAM, around 260 events were carried out in the territory, of which 70 territorial assemblies, 25 thematic forums and more than 170 other activities, including seminars, meetings, meetings of all kinds. It is estimated that more than 87,000 people took part in these events, of which 22,000 took part in the events organized in the dioceses and other ecclesial bodies, while 65,000 took part in preparatory processes for various consultations.
The material, which came from this extensive consultation, was the object of careful study and classification by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops which, with the help of qualified experts, proceeded to draft a draft working document. The drafting group of this text was formed by various experts, some of whom came from the Panamazzonica Region.

The Synod also includes three significant events that took place in the preparatory phase, the results of which have been appropriately integrated into the drafting of the Instrumentum laboris. The first of these events was the meeting of REPAM with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops on 14 and 15 November 2018, in Manaus. Then the emerging results of the Regional Assemblies celebrated throughout the Amazon territory were collected and some aspects were clearly outlined, including: awareness of the fact that the Amazon is not only geographical but also political, social , economic and cultural; listening as a paradigm of the ecclesial journey begun with the Pan-Amazonian Assembly; the vision of integral ecology not only as a defense but also as a promotion of the peoples and of the common House.

The second important event in the preparatory phase was the Study Seminar organized in Rome by the General Secretariat from 25 to 27 February of the current year on the theme: Towards the Special Synod for the Amazon: regional and universal dimension. The program included the two major topics included in the synodal theme, namely, the Church's mission and integral ecology.

The first topic was dedicated to the first day and was presented with a Report on The Mission of the Church in the Amazon in the light of Evangelii Gaudium. This opening report was followed by 6 brief communications, which investigated the following themes: catechesis and Christian formation, inculturation, consecrated life, liturgy and sacramental life, ecclesial ministries, popular piety and proselytizing of Pentecostal communities.

The second day was dedicated to the theme of ecology, which was presented with a Report on Integral Ecology in the Amazon in the light of Laudato Si '. Following this, 6 short communications were issued on environmental ecology, environmental and cultural ecology, political and economic ecology, the indigenous issue, ecological education, ecological spirituality.

The third day was dedicated to a general debate preceded by a Report on Perspectives in view of the Panamazzonico Synod and followed by a final reflection by Card. Claudio Hummes, President of REPAM and General Relator of this Synod Assembly.

The overall budget of the Seminar was broadly positive and satisfying, as a rich panorama emerged of all the issues and problems inherent to the Amazon which deserve to be addressed pastorally and in a spirit of fraternal communion during this Synod. The proceedings of the Seminar are published and, besides being a valid contribution to the elaboration of the Instrumentum laboris, they are a significant material that will soon be available to you.

The third event in the journey towards the Panamazonic Synod was the International Conference celebrated in Washington to address the theme Integral Ecology as a synodal response from the Amazon region and other biomes and territories for the care of our common home. This event, which took place at the University of Georgetown from 19 to 21 March this year, was organized by REPAM, the Department for the Integral Human Development Service, the Observer of the Holy See at the UN and by the Conference of Jesuit Provincials of the United States and Canada, with the presence of this General Secretariat.

Specifically, this event has developed very important orientations about integral ecology, allowing to give a relevant space to a renewed pastoral and open to options of territorial communion around essential biomes. In essence, the Washington Conference contributed to the synodal process mainly by helping to become aware of the urgency of applying the guidelines of the Encyclical Laudato Sì and of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium to concrete life. Perhaps what is most relevant is that everything in the aforementioned Conference was developed in the context of an international perspective, with reflections of socio-political impact aimed at supporting a global dynamism at ecclesial and civil level to promote territorial identities.
All this material - both that of consultation and that of the results of the aforementioned cultural events of the preparatory phase - came together in the text of the Instrumentum laboris which was finally discussed and approved by the pre-Synodal Council. It was made public at the press conference on 17 June.

In the drafting of the Working Document or Instrumenum laboris the General Secretariat availed itself of the collaboration of a group of experts for reading and summarizing the material resulting from the consultation, which was received mainly in Spanish and Portuguese. It will be the responsibility of the General Relator to present this Document in his Report, identifying the strength ideas, or the "generative nuclei" on which the synodal debate will be concentrated.

4) The synodal methodology
In the three weeks of the work that opens before us today, the Instrumentum laboris will constitute the point of reference and the necessary basis for reflection and the Synod debate and not a text to be amended. Its function ends with the elaboration of the final Document, which will collect the results achieved by this Assembly and by the entire synodal process.

The celebratory phase of the Synod that begins today is the culminating moment of the entire long synodal path, which will thus take into account the precious patrimony of ideas and reflections that have emerged so far, and of many celebrations, activities and prayers of the whole people of God.

In light of what has been expressed, I would now like to briefly explain the procedures according to which the work will take place, referring for further details to the Instruction that is available and to the Regulation delivered to all participants. It contains a series of specific legislative provisions for this Special Assembly, as well as the schedule of works prepared by the General Secretariat in close connection with the proposed methodology. This Regulation, drawn up on the basis of the Instruction, contains complete and detailed information on the procedure of the assembly activities and is therefore an indispensable tool to follow the work.

During this first General Congregation, after my Report, the General Relator will present the Instrumentum laboris, in its general lines and at the same time highlight those ideas-forces on which the synodal debate will have to focus. Such fundamental ideas could also be called "generative nuclei" because they are concepts capable of further generating proposals or suggestions to be included in the Project of the final Document.

After this presentation, the interventions in the Hall of the Synod Fathers, Auditors, Fraternal Delegates and Special Guests will begin, according to the order of submission of requests received through the petitio loquendi form. Each speaker has the faculty to speak only once during the General Congregations, referring to the part and number of the paragraph of the Instrumentum laboris he prefers. Since the number of those who have the right to speak is high (258 speakers, of which 185 Synod Fathers, 55 Auditors, 6 Fraternal Delegates and 12 Special Guests) and having given more space to the Circuli Minores (XI sessions), each will be allowed to intervene in the Chamber for a maximum time of four minutes, while in the Circuli you will have the possibility to do it extensively. Furthermore, as in the past, some afternoon General Congregations foresee moments, lasting an hour each, dedicated to the so-called "free interventions" of the Synod Fathers. This space of time has the purpose of offering a framework for open dialogue and sincere confrontation between Members. Therefore, please take advantage of this opportunity, not to do a second intervention, but to react to an intervention made, to ask for explanations if necessary, to express support or dissent with respect to other interventions. Only in this way, through an exchange of opinions in the spirit of fraternal communion, consensus is being shaped on the main themes that emerge during the debate in the Chamber.

The Calendar provides that the General Congregations alternate with the smaller Circles. Thus, the sixth General Congregation ended (Wednesday 9 October), 4 sessions of minor Circles begin (until Friday 11). In these groups we will discuss what has emerged in the General Congregations and we will begin to elaborate the contributions that will remain, but open to new additions. Saturday 12 in the morning the General Congregations resume until Tuesday 15 afternoon. From Wednesday 16 to Thursday 17 in the morning the smaller Circles meet again in order to finish processing the contributions to be presented to the General Secretariat. In the afternoon of Thursday 17 a General Congregation takes place in which each minor Circle shares its work with the other participants, presenting in the Hall the fruit of its own debate.
Once the interventions in the Chamber and the work of the smaller Circles have been completed, the process of elaboration of the Final Document Project begins, which provides for the collection of everything that has been exhibited in the Chamber, but also and above all, the synthesis of the contributions that each Club will present in its own tongue. The aforementioned project will be presented to the entire Assembly in the Chamber, Monday 21st in the 14th General Congregation, and immediately afterwards the text passes to the smaller Circles where it is subjected to discussion in order to propose amendments or so-called “collective” modalities, because they must be approved, at least by an absolute majority, by the members of the Circle.

The examination of the collective ways takes place under the coordination of the General Relator, who will make use of the collaboration of the two Special Secretaries and some Experts. As happened in the last three General Assemblies, from the beginning, that is, after the presentation of the General Relator, a Commission will be elected for the elaboration of the final Document. It will be composed of the General Relator (who presides over it), the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the Special Secretaries and 7 Synod Fathers (4 elected by the Synod Assembly, and 3 appointed by the Holy Father). Also in the light of the experience gained in the recent past, this Commission will have the task of coordinating and supervising the elaboration of the synodal texts, in their various stages of progress up to the Project of the final document of the Synod. It, then, in its final version, will be presented in the Chamber on the morning of Friday 25th so that an adequate time remains for the individual reading of the text.

Finally, in the last General Congregation, on the afternoon of Saturday 26, the final Document will be voted and the works closed. In accordance with the nature of the Synod, this Document, the fruit of the Synod's work, will be handed over to the Supreme Pontiff, who is responsible for every decision on the matter.

A final step before dissolving the Synod Assembly consists in the constitution of the Special Council, we say post-synod to distinguish it from the pre-synodal one. In fact, the Instruction states that at the end of the work the Special Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod will be elected, which will have the task of collaborating with the competent Dicastery in the matter in the application phase after the closing of the Synod, always remaining in the disposition of the Holy Father for any task he wanted to assign to him. The election of the Members who will be part of this Secretariat will take place in the 15th General Congregation on Friday 25th October according to the regulations and the modalities that will be indicated when necessary.

5) Communication during the Synod Assembly
First of all, I would like to recall that since the beginning of the preparation of the Panamazonic Synod, the General Secretariat has opened a multilingual web page with various information not only about the Special Assembly - synodal documents such as the Preparatory Document with the Questionnaire and the Instrumentum laboris - but also with abundant material concerning the synodal event: articles, videos, interviews, etc. Furthermore, the themes of this Synod are shared through the dissemination of contents in active social networks focused in this Pan-Amazonian Assembly.

With regard to the dissemination of news relating to assembly work through the media, it should be remembered that it will be managed by the Communication Department, chaired by its Prefect, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, who in turn will be the President of the Commission for the 'information. Furthermore, this Commission will be composed of its Secretary, Rev. P. Giacomo Costa, SI, the Director of the Press Room, Dr. Matteo Bruni, the Editorial Director of the Communication Department, Dr. Andrea Tornielli, and Mr. Mauricio López Oropeza, Executive Secretary of REPAM, by Sister Maria Irene Lopes Dos Santos, Councilor of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon of the CNBB, appointed by the Holy Father, and by 4 other Members who will be elected by the Synod Fathers.

The main source of information to the media will be represented by the daily briefings coordinated by the Prefect of the Communication Department and by the Director of the Holy See Press Office: these events will be attended by some Synod Fathers and other Synod participants indicated from time to time by the Commission for information. Moreover, through the social networks (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) of Vatican News and of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, news will be disseminated and shared about the progress of the Synod works. It is also suggested to use the #Sinodo Amazonico hashtag for all languages ​​in order to have an informative panorama on the Synod.
Once the interventions in the Chamber and the work of the smaller Circles have been completed, the process of elaboration of the Final Document Project begins, which provides for the collection of everything that has been exhibited in the Chamber, but also and above all, the synthesis of the contributions that each Club will present in its own tongue. The aforementioned project will be presented to the entire Assembly in the Chamber, Monday 21st in the 14th General Congregation, and immediately afterwards the text passes to the smaller Circles where it is subjected to discussion in order to propose amendments or so-called “collective” modalities, because they must be approved, at least by an absolute majority, by the members of the Circle.

The examination of the collective ways takes place under the coordination of the General Relator, who will make use of the collaboration of the two Special Secretaries and some Experts. As happened in the last three General Assemblies, from the beginning, that is, after the presentation of the General Relator, a Commission will be elected for the elaboration of the final Document. It will be composed of the General Relator (who presides over it), the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the Special Secretaries and 7 Synod Fathers (4 elected by the Synod Assembly, and 3 appointed by the Holy Father). Also in the light of the experience gained in the recent past, this Commission will have the task of coordinating and supervising the elaboration of the synodal texts, in their various stages of progress up to the Project of the final document of the Synod. It, then, in its final version, will be presented in the Chamber on the morning of Friday 25th so that an adequate time remains for the individual reading of the text.

Finally, in the last General Congregation, on the afternoon of Saturday 26, the final Document will be voted and the works closed. In accordance with the nature of the Synod, this Document, the fruit of the Synod's work, will be handed over to the Supreme Pontiff, who is responsible for every decision on the matter.

A final step before dissolving the Synod Assembly consists in the constitution of the Special Council, we say post-synod to distinguish it from the pre-synodal one. In fact, the Instruction states that at the end of the work the Special Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod will be elected, which will have the task of collaborating with the competent Dicastery in the matter in the application phase after the closing of the Synod, always remaining in the disposition of the Holy Father for any task he wanted to assign to him. The election of the Members who will be part of this Secretariat will take place in the 15th General Congregation on Friday 25th October according to the regulations and the modalities that will be indicated when necessary.

5) Communication during the Synod Assembly
First of all, I would like to recall that since the beginning of the preparation of the Panamazonic Synod, the General Secretariat has opened a multilingual web page with various information not only about the Special Assembly - synodal documents such as the Preparatory Document with the Questionnaire and the Instrumentum laboris - but also with abundant material concerning the synodal event: articles, videos, interviews, etc. Furthermore, the themes of this Synod are shared through the dissemination of contents in active social networks focused in this Pan-Amazonian Assembly.

With regard to the dissemination of news relating to assembly work through the media, it should be remembered that it will be managed by the Communication Department, chaired by its Prefect, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, who in turn will be the President of the Commission for the 'information. Furthermore, this Commission will be composed of its Secretary, Rev. P. Giacomo Costa, SI, the Director of the Press Room, Dr. Matteo Bruni, the Editorial Director of the Communication Department, Dr. Andrea Tornielli, and Mr. Mauricio López Oropeza, Executive Secretary of REPAM, by Sister Maria Irene Lopes Dos Santos, Councilor of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon of the CNBB, appointed by the Holy Father, and by 4 other Members who will be elected by the Synod Fathers.

The Synod Fathers will be free to grant interviews outside the Synod Hall as well as generally communicate with the media at their discretion and responsibility, obviously in a personal capacity, maintaining the necessary confidentiality on the names of the people who intervene, on the debates in the Chamber and in the Circulars minores. To ensure the confidentiality necessary for the Synod to take place, during the work, both in the Chamber and in the Circles, the participants are requested not to interact with the outside through social networks.
Furthermore, it must be remembered that, as in the last Synods, the interventions in the Chamber will not be officially published in the Bulletin of the Press Room. Instead, the reports presented by the Circuli, will be made public appropriately through the Holy See Press Office. For obvious reasons, the texts concerning the various phases of elaboration of the final document will remain confidential, considering that it is susceptible to continuous development until the final drafting.

6) The Special Assembly in the sign of an integral ecology
On the occasion of this Synod - which among other things has ecology as one of its thematic axes - the General Secretariat has implemented some initiatives that intend to promote environmental sustainability in order to preserve pollution and safeguard the common house.

The first initiative, carried out with excellent results, was the new practice for the registration of Participants through an IT procedure, which allowed those who were invited to take part in the Synod Assembly to register directly online, through a password and sending your personal data as well as indicating your logistical needs. You have already experienced this new practice and you have noticed the speed in communication, but above all the saving of printed paper.

Another initiative concerns the special attention that has been devoted to ensuring that among the materials used during the Synod there are no plastic objects, such as glasses that will be made of biodegradable material. For this same reason, the bag made available to Participants is in natural fiber, just as the pens are in biodegradable material. Finally, the paper used for all the documents that will be distributed is the one that has the most certifications of provenance and processing chain.

It is proposed as a characterizing sign of this Synod that a symbolic gesture is realized from an ecological point of view. We would like this to be a "zero-impact synod". On the basis of the calculations carried out, we intend to offset the emissions of 572,809 kg of CO2 (438,373 kg for air travel and 134,435 kg the other activities) generated by the consumption of energy, water, preparation, mobility of participants, by production of waste and promotional materials, with the purchase of forestry licenses for the reforestation of an area of ​​50 hectares of forest in the Amazon basin. The intention is to signify attention to the theme of the environment, on the part of the Holy Father and all those who participate in the Synod, following the Encyclical Laudato Si, which called for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. With this initiative we would like not only to discuss ecological conversion, but to consistently propose a concrete gesture. With regard to this project, the approval of this Assembly is desired.

Conclusion

Convinced of interpreting the sentiments of this Special Assembly, I conclude by addressing all the original peoples who follow us from the Amazon. We thank you for the contribution you have made to this Special Assembly during the Synod journey undertaken so far. Know that we have listened to your voices and will be present in the reflections we will be making. Thanks this initiative, the eyes of the world are focused on what you want, on your cultural, spiritual and faith heritage in Jesus Christ. The incarnation of the Word realizes full humanity, as Saint Francis of Assisi teaches us. Together with him, you too, before the beauty of creation, praise the Lord with and through his creatures. We carry you in our heart during these synod days and we remember you in our prayer. Let us therefore invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary - so venerated as Nossa Senhora da Amazônia and with various other titles throughout the Panamazzonica area - so that this Special Assembly may offer the Holy Father fruitful fruits in view of an effective application of integral ecology and for new ecclesial paths that involve the whole People of God pilgrim in Amazonia, source of exuberant life, land of hidden beauties, kairòs of grace and blessings, place of dialogue between faith and cultures, always fertile ground to receive the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

_______________________
[1] Francesco, Angelus, 15 ottobre 2017.
[2]
 Cfr. Francesco, Costituzione Apostolica Episcopalis communio, Art. 18; Istruzione Art. 1 § 4° e 5°, Art. 35 § 5.
[01592-IT.01] [Testo originale: Italiano]
[B0781-XX.02]
Unofficial Translation

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