Pope Francis and Amazonia
Sir, – Patricia Moynihan (Letters, October 14th) takes issue with the clerical garb of church leaders attending the Roman Catholic Amazon synod at the Vatican, referring to them as “men in frocks”, and argues that the Amazonia area requires the ecological help that the church can provide, rather than it being seen as a ground for proselytising. While the ceremonial white alb worn by priests and bishops may not be to Ms Moynihan’s taste, it is worn as a symbol of the purity of the baptised person and dates from a Roman era, on a par arguably with the traditional customs of tribal leaders across the developing world. The purpose of the synod called by Pope Francis is to facilitate the indigenous Catholic communities of Amazonia, who have a shortage of priests, to have greater flexibility regarding the rules of celibacy. If there has ever been a pope who takes the care of the environment seriously, it is surely the current pope, evidenced by his encyclical Laudato Si, which has the subtitle, “on care of our common home”. – Yours, etc,
Templeogue, Dublin 16.