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Catacomb Pact Renewed: ‘For the Common House’
During the Amazon Synod in Rome, a group of about 40 Bishops along with some religious and laypeople signed a new Pact of the Catacombs for the Common House on October 20, 2019, in the Catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome.

Aiming to update and renew the revolutionary first Pact of the Catacombs, signed during Vatican II, this recent pact aims to put into practice the revolutionary ideas of the Amazon Synod in order to make the promised “Church with an Amazonian Face.

Some of these revolutionary ideas include: applying an “integral ecology,” respecting the “spirituality” of pagan indigenous, working to legitimize as “deaconesses” the many women already working as such in Amazonia, encouraging communist “popular movements,” rejecting any type of “colonialism,” and adopting a “simple” minimalist-tribal lifestyle.

Below, we offer in navy font a translation from the Spanish of the article in green below it, which is a photocopy of the original pact as it appeared on the website of The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) on October 20, 2019.

Pact of the Catacombs for the Common House
For a Church with an Amazonian face, poor & servant, prophetic & Samaritan

We, the participants of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, share the joy of living amidst numerous indigenous peoples, 'quilombos', riverside peoples, migrants and communities in the periphery of the cities of this immense territory of the Planet. With them we have experienced the strength of the Gospel that acts in the little ones. The encounter with these peoples challenges us and invites us to a simpler life of sharing and giving. Influenced by listening to their cries and tears, we welcome from the heart the words of Pope Francis:

“So many of our brothers and sisters in Amazonia carry heavy crosses and await the liberating consolation of the Gospel, the loving caress of the Church. Let us walk together with them, for them.”

We recall with gratitude the bishops who, in the Catacombs of Santa Domitilla at the end of the Second Vatican Council, signed The Pact for a Poor and Servant Church. We remember with reverence all the martyrs who were members of the ecclesial base communities, the pastoral and popular movements, the indigenous leaders, the female and male missionaries, the laity, priests and bishops who shed their blood for this option for the poor, to defend life and fight for the safeguarding of our Common House. To our gratitude for their heroism, we join our decision to continue their fight with tenacity and courage. It is a feeling of urgency that imposes itself in the face of the aggressions that today devastate the Amazonian territory, threatened by the violence of a predatory and consumerist economic system.

Before the Holy Trinity, our particular Churches, the Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean and those that stand in solidarity with us in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and on the North American continent, and at the feet of the apostles Peter and Paul and the multitude of martyrs from Rome, Latin America and, especially, our Amazonia, in profound communion with the successor of Peter, we invoke the Holy Spirit and we commit ourselves, personally and communally, to the following:

1. To assume, in the face of the threat of extreme global warming and the depletion of natural resources, the commitment to defend the standing Amazon jungle in our territories and with our attitudes. From it come the gifts of water for a large part of the South American territory, the contribution to the carbon cycle and the regulation of the global climate, an incalculable biodiversity and a rich socio-diversity for humanity and the entire Earth.

2. To recognize that we are not owners of Mother Earth, but rather her sons and daughters, formed from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7-8), guests and pilgrims (1 Pet 1:17 and 1 Pet 2: 11), called to be its zealous caregivers. (Gen 1:26) Therefore, we commit ourselves to an integral ecology, in which everything is interconnected, the human race and all creation because all beings are daughters and sons of the earth and on them floats the Spirit of God. (Gen 1:2)

3. To welcome and renew each day the covenant of God with everything created: “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants, and with a every living creature that is with you, the birds, domestic and wild animals of the earth, as many as came out of the ark.” (Gen 9:9-10; Gen 9:12-17)

4. To renew in our churches the preferential option for the poor, especially for the native peoples, and, together with them to guarantee their right to be protagonists in society and in the Church. To help them preserve their lands, cultures, languages, stories, identities and spiritualties. To grow in the awareness that they must be respected locally and globally and, consequently, to encourage, by all means within our reach, that they be welcomed on an equal footing in the world concert of peoples and cultures.

5. To abandon, as a result, in our parishes, dioceses and groups every type of colonialist mentality and behavior, welcoming and valuing cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity in a respectful dialogue with all spiritual traditions.

6. To denounce all forms of violence and aggression against the autonomy and rights of indigenous peoples, their identity, their territories and their ways of life.

7. To announce the liberating novelty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in welcoming the stranger and the different, as happened with Peter in the house of Cornelius: “You well know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to enter his house, but God has shown me that one should not call any man profane or impure.” (Acts 10:28)

8. To walk ecumenically with other Christian communities in the inculturation and in the liberating announcement of the Gospel, and with other religions and people of good will, in solidarity with the native peoples, with the poor and the small, in defense of their rights and the preservation of our Common House.

9. To establish in our particular Churches a synodal way of life, where representatives of the native peoples along with the missionaries and laity, on account of their baptism and in communion with their pastors, have a voice and vote in the diocesan assemblies, in pastoral and parish councils and, ultimately, in everything that concerns the government of the communities.

10. To commit ourselves to the urgent recognition of ecclesial ministries that already exist in the communities, exercised by pastoral agents, indigenous catechists, female and male ministers of the Word, valuing in particular their care for the most vulnerable and excluded.

11. To make effective in the communities entrusted to us, the move from pastoral visits to pastoral presence, ensuring that the right to the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist are effective in all communities.

12. To recognize the services and the real Diakonia of the large number of women who direct communities in Amazonia today and to seek to reinforce them with an adequate ministry of women leaders of the community.

13. To seek new paths of pastoral action in the cities where we act, especially with lay people and youth, with attention to the peripheries and migrants, workers and the unemployed, students, educators, researchers and the world of culture and communication.

14. To assume before the avalanche of consumerism a joyfully sober lifestyle, simple and in solidary with those who have little or nothing; to reduce the production of waste and the use of plastics, to favor the production and commercialization of agro-ecological products, and to use public transport whenever possible.

15. To place ourselves alongside those who are persecuted for their prophetic service of denouncing and repairing injustices, of defending the land and the rights of the little ones, of welcoming and supporting migrants and refugees. To cultivate true friendships with the poor, to visit the simplest people and the sick, to exercise the ministry of listening, comfort and support that brings encouragement and renews hope.

Aware of our weaknesses, our insufficiency and smallness in the face of such great and serious challenges, we entrust ourselves to the prayer of the Church. May our ecclesial communities, above all, help us with their intercession, their affection in the Lord and, when necessary, with the charity of fraternal correction.

We welcome with an open heart the invitation of Cardinal Hummes to allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit during these days of the Synod and upon our return to our churches:

“Let yourselves be wrapped in the mantle of the Mother of God and Queen of the Amazonia. We must not allow our self-centeredness to overcome us, but rather by mercy before the cry of the poor and the earth. Much prayer, meditation and discernment will be required, as well as a real practice of ecclesial communion and a synodal spirit. This Synod is like a table that God has prepared for His poor and He is asking us to be the ones who serve the table.”

We celebrate this Eucharist of the Pact as “an act of cosmic love.” “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a village church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world.” The Eucharist unites heaven and earth, it encompasses and penetrates all creation. The world that issued forth from the hands of God returns to Him in blessed and full adoration: in the Eucharistic Bread “creation tends towards divinization, towards the holy wedding feast, towards unification with the Creator himself.” “For this reason, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, leading us to be stewards of all creation.”

Catacombs of Santa Domitilla, Rome, October 20, 2019

Catacomb Pact for the Common Home


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