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Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Support Ecological Themes of Synod on the Amazon

October 02, 2019

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region Oct. 6-27, as this important gathering of the Catholic Church resonates with our deep concern for Earth and for peoples most impacted by extractive industries and the climate crisis.

We appreciate the Synod’s participatory preparation process, which included more than 300 listening sessions over the past two years to gather the concerns and hopes of the people of the Amazon. We also applaud the attention of the Synod to Pope Francis’ call to “hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” especially at this time of devastating wildfires and escalating deforestation for logging, cattle grazing and other large-scale agricultural projects in the region. The Synod’s working document draws heavily from concerns about pollution from extractive industries, exploitation of land and violations of human rights.

The Sisters of Mercy stand in solidarity with communities, especially indigenous communities, harmed by extractive industries such as mineral and coal mining, oil and gas drilling, pipelines and other infrastructure, mega-hydroelectric dams, large-scale corporate agriculture and even, in some cases, renewable energy projects. Most recently, in preparation for the Synod, we have been engaging with REPAM, the Church’s Amazonian network, and Churches and Mining, which addresses concerns throughout Latin America.

The Sisters of Mercy’s Chapter Recommitment from 2017 calls us “to intensify efforts to align our investments with our values and...to pursue education and action against practices of extractive industries that are destroying people, communities and Earth.” We admit our complicity in the threats facing the Amazon, its peoples, and the entire planet given the rainforest’s role in maintaining a stable climate. We are responding as people of faith, as advocates and as people who can make moral choices with our purchases, including consumption of meat and use of fossil fuels. We look forward to discussions at the Synod that may lead to similar commitments by the larger Church.

We pray for the spirit of respectful listening and encounter to flow through the Synod meetings. And we look forward to, with the rest of the Church, letting the fruits of these days transform us collectively and as individuals.

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