I’ve been reading Pope Francis Post Synodal Exhortation: “Querida Amazona” and I was struck by the conclusion I came to in the past 2 weeks about the suicides in the Basking Ridge Area. Francis’ concern is what I have copied below. His concern is the loss of the indigenous culture of what is basically Latin American cultureThis is a culture that is of the land but that had been taken up into the Christian faith and that had become one with it. The Pope fears (33) “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”. 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”. 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”. I urge the young people of the Amazon region, especially the indigenous peoples, to “take charge of your roots, because from the roots comes the strength that will make you grow, flourish and bear fruit”. For those of them who are baptized, these roots include the history of the people of Israel and the Church up to our own day. Knowledge of them can bring joy and, above all, a hope capable of inspiring noble and courageous actions.”
As I kept reading the very thing he is talking about for the Amazon area of South America, which embraces Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and the territory of French Guiana, applies to the United States. I find myself dumbfounded by the number of young people under 20 who had commited suicide in the last 20 days. My conclusion was the same as Fr.Julian Carrona of C and who wrote:
“The changes we’re living through are so radical, so unprecedented, that I get why many people just don’t understand what’s happening or the gestures of Pope Francis,” he said. “But if we don’t understand those gestures now, we will in a time when we see the consequences they’re leading to.”
John Allen, Jr. wrote that Carrón argued that what’s happened in modernity is that people have lost sight of what it means to be a human being, so the crisis is much deeper than simply the rejection of this or that ethical precept, and that what’s needed now is not so much moral exhortation or theological argument, but the attractive power of a fully Christian life.
“I get that many people are upset and puzzled by the pope, as were people in Jesus’ time by him – especially, let’s remember, the more ‘religious’ people,” he said. “For example, the Pharisees, failing to see the full drama of the human situation facing them, wanted a preacher simply to tell people what to do, to put heavy burdens on them.
“That wasn’t enough to give humanity a new start, and then Jesus arrived and entered the house of Zacchaeus, without calling him a sinning thief, and that could have seemed too weak. Instead, no one ever challenged Zacchaeus the way Jesus did,” Carrón said.
“All those others who condemned his way of life didn’t move him an inch from his position. It was that absolutely gratuitous gesture of Jesus that succeeded where others failed,” he said.
I, Blogger, would dare say that what he is talking about in Amazonia is what is taking place here in the center of affluence. Our young people are like canaries in the coal mine which were brought ht down the mine shafts as most vulnerable to the noxious gas that could kill the men without their realizing it. It is in face doing so. This global culture is like a great gaseous cloud of radiation that is killing us without our realizing what it is. I want to suggest that analogy and suggest that we read Amazona as totally pertinent to us. Keep in mind also that JPII wrote “Ecclesia in America” in 1999 suggesting that the future of the world culture would not come from Europe after the collapse of Communism in 1989, but from America, and concretely now, the cono sur of Latin America. Let’s read the document. After all lating America has already given us the pope.