Pope Francis has responded to last year’s Synod on the Amazon with an eloquent reflection on the future of our planet and exploitation of its poorest peoples. But, as a leading feminist and theologian argues, it is marred by a blindness to the role of women as partners in ecological conversion
Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (“Beloved Amazonia”) has caused consternation in the Catholic media, including social media. Conservatives are crowing that liberals have had their come-uppance: he makes no mention of married priests or of women deacons. Liberals are wringing their hands about a missed opportunity to institute some overdue reforms. And in my Catholic women’s networks, many are angry and hurt. This is the last straw. They can no longer be in a Church so obstinately determined to keep them in their place. They feel excluded even from the dialogue; barely even noticed.
Why has this passionate and lyrical vision for a future world free from corporate domination, living in harmony with nature, and inspired by the cultures and values of the indigenous peoples of Amazonia provoked such widely divergent reactions? I want to reflect on why some women feel such distress, but first let me make a few general observations.