A senior prelate serving in the Amazon has hit back at critics of the forthcoming synod on the region, emphasising that it will help the Church stand with exploited indigenous communities and become an effective evangelising presence.

Cardinal Pedro Barreto, a Jesuit whose archdiocese of Huncayo covers the western Amazonian region of Peru, has challenged the assumption that the territory is a “backward space” urging “non-Amazonian societies” to learn from local cultures and their ability to protect the environment.

His intervention, contained in an article for “La Civilta Cattolica” magazine, comes amid intense criticism from Rome-based cardinals, and traditionalist groups of the Amazon synod’s working document, published last month. […]

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