The Laudato si’ Encyclical, a letter from Pope Francis which highlights the moral dimensions of climate change, was recently presented at two events in the Amazon region. These events brought together academia, civil society, government, religious leaders, and indigenous communities.

The first event took place on August 16 in the Kambeba village, located in Três Unidos community, a Rio Negro Area of Ambiental Protection (APA). Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, joined the Catholic ceremony to highlight the relevance of the Pope’s message to conserving the Amazon. The ceremony was attended by around 100 people from different communities of Negro River.

During the homily, the Vatican’s representative highlights the social injustice as one of the evils to planet earth – our “common home.” “It’s necessary to change our way to act. The essence of the problem are the fossil fuels used by society. Still, climate changes and global warming reach more people like from here, who use less fuel, who contribute less to the global problem,” stated Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

For FAS Director General Virgilio Viana, taking the Pope’s message to the riverine communities is essential. “In Três Unidos community and other communities in the region, we have hundreds of forest keepers. It’s a moment to thank these people who took care and have been taking care of the forest. The act of releasing part of the Encyclical in Amazon is simple but very symbolic,” said Viana.

The leader of the community, Valdemir Triukuxuri, thanked the Church’s representatives. “The Amazon is our mother. We receive air, water, everything we have, from her. Like the Pope said, we, men, are the destroyers of the Amazon, of our mother, but we can improve, have a new reborn, and take good care of our mother Amazon,” offered Triukuxuri.

On August 17, the text of Laudato Si’ was presented at FAS headquarters in Manaus, Brazil, at an event entitled “Public Presentation and Dialogue With Society About Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ to the Future of the Amazon and Planet.” The event was attended by State and Church representatives, environmentalists and people from various religions, including Candomblé. Christiane Torloni, actress and and representative of the Amazonia Forever Manifest, joined the event to emphasize that all people, even non-Catholics, should read the message of the Encyclical. Visit the FAS website for an overview and video recording of the event.

“The Encyclical is an antidote that arrived for us, irrespectively of religion and belief that people have. Is a stimulus so we can do something, and for those who are already doing is a blow of hope as well. Time will show that the Encyclical is one of the most important books,” said Torloni.

The president of the Episcopal Commission for Amazon of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), Don Claudio Hummes, also joined the discussion: “In open dialogue, we can face the environment issues, the sustainability matter in our planet. That is why the Pope seek to listen to all, even those who have a different opinion. The important is to dialogue together as Church and society about environmental matters.”

Press coverage (in Portuguese):

Encíclica de Francisco é lançada em aldeia indígena no AM –

Vaticano apresenta em Manaus carta do papa com mensagem sobre meio ambiente (video) – Globo

Encíclica papal sobre meio ambiente é lançada em aldeia indígena no AM – Globo