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Charity highlights pressing issues Pope will address at Amazon synod

by Tola Mbakwe

There are 146 items on the agenda for the three week synod meeting which began on Sunday.

They include lengthening the longevity of Church the region, supporting with indigenous communities, proposing married elders could be ordained priests to address the chronic priest shortages in the region, protecting human rights campaigners and addressing global warming effects on the rainforest.

Clare Dixon from Catholic charity CAFOD said climate change is a big theme in the series of meetings.

"The Amazon generates a fifth of the Earth's freshwater supply and a fifth of the Earth's oxygen supply. But its trees are being torn down and its rivers polluted at an alarming rate, and as the Synod will discuss, is now a place of pain and violence," she said.

"Indigenous communities in the Amazon have been living in harmony with nature for many years, but they are being killed defending their lands, and criminalised in their struggle to protect the precious Amazon rainforest that we all depend on to survive.

"Human rights and land defenders' tireless pursuit of social and environmental justice to prevent agribusiness and extractive industries destroying the Amazon entails great risks to their own lives, including threats of violence, murders and criminalisation with no recourse to justice."

Dixon said she believes the meeting will have a big impact on these issues and encouraged all Christians should pay attention to what comes out of the meetings.

"We are the guardians of God's creation," she said. "We see God's creation, the planet, our future, under threat and under destruction. We see the exploitation of the very poorest. And of course, the option for the poor and the voice of the voiceless has been a central tenant of the church's teaching for many decades now."

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