Querida Amazonia 33-35: Caring For Roots

When Pope Francis writes of roots in his post-synodal exhortation, what does he mean? He speaks of “caring for roots,” the title of a section consisting of paragraphs 33 through 35. He reminds us of a criticism of modern society he made in two documents:

33. Here I would like to point out that “a consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today’s globalized economy, has a leveling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity”.[Laudato Si’ 144] This especially affects young people, for it has a tendency to “blur what is distinctive about their origins and backgrounds, and turn them into a new line of malleable goods”.[Christus Vivit 186] In order to prevent this process of human impoverishment, there is a need to care lovingly for our roots, since they are “a fixed point from which we can grow and meet new challenges”.[Ibid., 200.]

Some of the pope’s critics zero in on his unfriendliness to capitalism-gone-wild. What the Holy Father criticizes is the erasure of culture, the effect on young people, the resulting materialism, and the abandonment of tradition. Are these inevitable consequences of colonialism? We’ve seen that, certainly.

Pope Francis, in the youth synod document, praised the connection between generations, advising the young to stay rooted in their families, with their elders, and so forth. He does so here in this section.

A point of optimism, which struck me because of the emphasis on the arts:

I am pleased to see that people who have lost contact with their roots are trying to recover their damaged memory. Then too, the professional sectors have seen a growing sense of Amazonian identity; even for people who are the descendants of immigrants, the Amazon region has become a source of artistic, literary, musical and cultural inspiration. The various arts, and poetry in particular, have found inspiration in its water, its forests, its seething life, as well as its cultural diversity and its ecological and social challenges. (QA 35)


This document is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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