The Rise of the “Amazonian” Elites, by Joshua Hren

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July 9, 2019
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July 9, 2019

TOPSHOT - Pope Francis, wearing gifts, leaves after a meeting with representatives of indigenous communities of the Amazon basin from Peru, Brazil and Bolivia, in the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado, on January 19, 2018. Pope Francis sounded a stark warning about the future of the Amazon and its peoples during a visit to the region on Friday, saying they had "never been so threatened." In a speech to thousands of tribe members on the edge of the rainforest in Peru, he said the Amazon and its peoples bore "deep wounds". / AFP PHOTO / Cris BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)

By Joshua Hren, Crisis Magazine, July 9, 2019

Joshua Hren

In his treatise The Rise and Fall of ElitesVilfredo Pareto proffers the thesis that “The history of man is the history of the continuous replacement of elites: as one ascends, another declines.” Unduly reductive as this contention is, Pareto attunes us to the persistent presence of elites in even the most revolutionary and populist movements. Elite, here, is not uttered with ressentiment or contempt; rather, for Pareto the term names any group that possesses consolidated influence and power. It would seem that a so-called “synodal Church” would offer an egalitarian, decentralized correction to Pareto’s premise. However, in presenting its theologies, ideas, and implementations as “homegrown” in South America, the Amazon Synod’s Instrumentum laboris advances a misguiding ruse that obfuscates the elites who have authored it.

An expert on theological trends in the Amazon, Julio Loredo has demonstrated that the Synod is “nothing else than the culmination of liberation theology.” The Synod’s Instrumentum laboris gives credence to his claim; we read that “a Church called to be even more synodal begins by listening to the peoples and to the earth by coming into contact with the abundant reality of an Amazon full of life and wisdom.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger explains that for liberation theologians, the “conciliar emphasis on the people of God is transformed into a Marxist myth.” Just as for Marxists the experiences of the proletariat elucidate history, here the “experiences of the ‘people’ elucidate Scripture. Yet, by themselves Amazonians have not sought to illuminate Revelation through their experiences in a universalizing manner…..Read the entrie article…