Amazon Bishop: Francis fears a schism

Bishop Kreutler said he could not yet assess what the church would look like under Francis’ successor. – The Cardinals of the Curia are even stronger. But there are also great personalities who do not close themselves behind walls. Predictions about the future of the Church have often turned out to be false starts, with Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) elected as a “medieval pope” and later called a council. “Perhaps the miracle will happen again, and the Holy Spirit will descend on the conference,” the bishop believes.

The Missionaries of the Precious Blood monk said of his own decades of activity in the Amazon, “He did not subject anyone to any special mission, but he lived with the people.” According to him, the task of the Church was clear: “to show those responsible that poverty is not a rule, but a reality.” Of course, it was always clear to him that devotion to the oppressed Indians was automatically directed against the interests of the rulers of those countries. That is why he is still under police protection in Brazil. “When the tension was there, I was never calm,” Bishop Krudler said.

Bishop Erwin Kreutler from Austria worked in the Amazon for more than 50 years. He came to the Xingu River as a missionary in 1965, and in the years 1981-2015 he headed the largest Brazilian community of Altamira-Xingu in the Amazon. The number is 340 thousand. In sq. km, the church unit is the largest in the country in terms of area. In 1983, he became president of the Missionary Council for Indian Affairs (CIMI) in the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference. He held this position till 1991 and then again from 2006.

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As bishop and president of CIMI, “Dom Erwin” has been fighting for decades and is still involved in the protection of the Brazilian rainforest and the rights of the indigenous peoples, small farmers and “landless people” who live there. He believed that areas of the Amazon inhabited by indigenous peoples should be fenced off with a “line of demarcation” to protect these places and people from exploitation. For this action, he was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2010.

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