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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Are Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Beautiful? Topsy and Tuptim Study Chapter 2 of the Instrumentum Laboris

The Congo peacock is nothing like its beautiful
cousins, the green and Indian peacocks. 
Tuptim: (Knocks at Topsy's kitchen door and comes in). Hey, Topsy. (Holds up a bottle of merlot.) Since we're meeting in the afternoon I brought some red wine. I thought we could use something a little stronger than coffee to get through Chapter 2.

Topsy: (putting a plate of crackers and cream cheese covered with chutney on the table.) Good call! I'll get the glasses. (She reaches in the cupboard and brings out two wine glasses. One has a gold peacock on it and the other has a pink chateau.) I love to pick up a glass when we go to a vineyard. Individual glasses are better than wine charms. Here, you can be the peacock.

Tuptim: (admires her glass) Do you think they have peacocks in the Amazon?

Topsy: Hmm...I don't know, but I read a National Geographic article about a species that lives in the Congo basin of Africa. I do love Indian peacocks. They're bright blue. We saw one strutting around last summer at the Will Rogers homestead in Oklahoma. We were able to get up close and personal.

Tuptim: (opens the wine and pours some for Topsy and then herself and takes a sip.) Let's get right to it. This is a short chapter.

Topsy: Okay. Why don't you sum up.

Tuptim: Well, I confess I thought it was almost hilariously stupid. (she shrugs) If you can consider something so seriously bad hilarious. Whoever wrote the document clearly wanted to wax poetic and make readers think of St. Francis and his canticle to Brother Sun and Sister Moon. But the philosophy is closer to Rousseau who influenced the so-called enlightenment and the murderous French Revolution than St. Francis. Listen to this:
...territory is a theological place where faith is lived, and also a particular source of God’s revelation: epiphanic places where the reserve of life and wisdom for the planet is manifest, a life and wisdom that speaks of God. In the Amazon, the “caresses of God” become manifest and become incarnate in history (cf. LS 84, “Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God”).

The Amazon rain forest is a beautiful work of God, but it is not a person
created in His image and likeness. 
 
I agree that nature has God's fingerprints all over it and that individual places are gifts from a loving Father to His family. What really angered me is the idea that the Amazon is an "epiphanic place" that everybody should respect and protect. But this same Vatican rebukes Americans and Europeans who want to protect their own "epiphanic places" from illegal invaders who endanger both the environment and the people. It's pure hypocrisy.

Topsy: I think I'm having an epiphany right now as I read this. Did you notice this line about how Pope Francis invited "Puerto Maldonado [a city in southeast Peru considered the gateway to the jungle] to defend this threatened region, to preserve it and restore it for the good of all?" I wonder what Pope Francis would say about tens of thousands of illegals descending on the city and demanding the right to stay and live and build homes in the rain forest. Somehow, I don't think he would be encouraging them to welcome the stranger.

Tuptim: No, he'd be railing about the degradation of the holy place. I thought the next part was out of the Twilight Zone:
A contemplative, attentive and respectful look at their brothers and sisters, and also at nature – the brother tree, the sister flower, the sisters birds, the brothers fish, and even the smallest sisters like ants, larvae, fungi or insects (cf. LS 233) – allows the Amazonian communities to discover how everything is connected, to value each creature, to see the mystery of God’s beauty revealed in all of them (cf. LS 84, 88), and to live together amicably.
malaria-carrying mosquito
Do you want to live together amicably with the malaria-carrying mosquito, the tse-tse fly, or the tick that carries lyme disease? This is so out of touch with reality. The document echoes Rousseau's noble savage, but if you read about the actual practices of the Yanomami culture in the Amazon, they are pagan to the core and need Jesus Christ. They practice polygamy, fornication, infanticide, and even ritual cannibalism. Are we supposed to respect that? They need serious Catholic missionaries not social justice agitators!

Topsy: There's nothing so far in this document that even sounds Catholic. Read paragraph 23. Again it's treating a place like a person. (She pauses.) Let's see...here it is...The second half of this sentence is so ridiculous. “The jungle is not a resource to exploit, it is a being or various beings with whom to relate.” No it isn't! Frankly, I don't think the Vatican knows the difference between people made in the image and likeness of God, and a rock. All of us communing with trees and plants and crystals is not going to bring us closer to Christ. New agers do that, not Catholics.

Tuptim: And that's just the prelude to the really the bizarre stuff (reading) about the "beliefs and rites regarding the actions of spirits, of the many-named divinity acting with and in the territory, with and in relation to nature." That makes me think of St. Paul when he saw the many temples to the different gods of the Greeks. These folks also worship a multiplicity of false gods and from the articles I've seen about the synod, that is a-okay with the organizers. We all need to learn from the shamans. They have nothing to learn from us.

To be continued....

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