(Vatican Radio) Bishop Emmanuel Lafont of Cayenne in French Guyana reacted with joy when he heard Pope Francis’s announcement of a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region.
French Guyana and Suriname are part of the Amazon territory together with Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.
As well as being an essential ‘lung’ for the entire planet as Pope Francis said when he made the announcement, the six million square kilometers that define the region are home to indigenous tribes and even uncontacted peoples whose cultures and whose very existences are threatened by large-scale logging, mining and other industrial projects as well as by pollution and climate change
Speaking to Vatican Radio Bishop Lafont said he is very grateful to Pope Francis for having called this Synod.
“I am very happy, grateful to the Holy Father for having called this Synod which is most important” he said.
For the benefit of the indigenous peoples
First of all, Bishop Lafont continued “for the benefit of the indigenous people – the First Nations – of the Amazonian region, because they have a long history, for the past 500 years of submission, of exploitation, of misunderstanding.”
For the protection of Creation
The second reason for which he is grateful, the Bishop said, that “the Amazon is one of the most important regions in the world for the protection of Creation” and it is currently facing many challenges.
“The Church, he said, ought to speak even more loudly for the protection of the region, and for the sake of the protection of the whole world”.