Pope Francis

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has approved the establishment of an ecclesial conference for the Amazon region, which was created by bishops in Latin America in 2020 at the recommendation of the 2019 Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian Region.

The Holy See Press Office announced on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 that the new body, which has the task of expressing “the Amazonian face” of the Church, goes by the acronym CEAMA, based on its Spanish title, Conferencia Eclesial de la Amazonía.

“Well disposed to favor such an initiative. Pope Francis instructed the Congregation for Bishops to follow and accompany the process closely, lending whatever help was needed to give the body an adequate form,” the Holy See press office said.

The Pope canonically erected the ecclesial conference as a “public ecclesiastical juridical person” during a meeting on Oct. 9 with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

In giving it official recognition, Pope Francis established its purpose as “promoting common pastoral action by the dioceses of the Amazon and encouraging greater inculturation of the faith in this territory.”

The creation of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon followed a proposal in the final document of the Amazon synod for “a permanent and representative bishops’ organism that promotes synodality in the Amazon region.”

The synod members said in the October 2019 document that having this organism would help “to express the Amazonian face of this Church and continues the task of finding new paths for the evangelizing mission, especially incorporating the proposal of integral ecology, thus strengthening the physiognomy of the Church in the Amazon.”

The document described the conference as “a nexus for developing Church and socio-environmental networks and initiatives at the continental and international levels.”

Pope Francis responded to the proposal in his own comments at the end of the Amazon synod in 2019, suggesting that the idea of a smaller regional conference could be applied in the Amazon.

The new ecclesial conference will be a functionally autonomous group connected with the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

Culled from CNA