Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
VATICAN CITY — One of the synod fathers who last week controversially received a group of Brazilian deputies told reporters on Friday that the meeting arose because the politicians wanted to deliver a parliamentary report on human rights concerns of the Amazonian people, initiated by the Brazilian bishops.
But the Register has learned that of the six deputies (five socialists and one communist) who came to Rome to present the report, only three were members of the parliamentary commission that wrote it.
The Register has also confirmed that the politicians, who included radical pro-abortion politician Jandira Feghali of the Communist Party of Brazil, said that the Pan Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM) had invited them to come to Rome to deliver the document. REPAM has so far officially denied inviting them.
Asked by Lifesite News journalist Diane Montagna if he could explain the Oct. 14 meeting, Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler of Marajó, Brazil, started off by saying the bishops “did not speak with the Communist Party.”
He then explained that earlier this year, the Brazilian bishops wrote a letter to the Brazilian parliament about human rights concerns of the indigenous people and deforestation by wildfires that began in January and are continuing.
The parliamentary human rights commission then “organized a session on the synod,” he said, “convoking REPAM and some bishops.” Bishop Pascoal said he and others represented REPAM at that meeting and reported on the events in the Amazon.
“We were told that this commission for human rights of the chamber was drafting a report on the rights of the Amazonian people, and they would give us a copy to read,” he said, especially as a “violation of human rights” of peoples in Amazonia was being considered. “These are the facts,” he said.
The politicians who came to present the report in Rome were Labor Party members Hélder Salomão, Airton Faleiro, Nilto Tatto, members of the Socialist Party of Brazil, Bira do Pindaré and Camilo Capiberibe, as well as Feghali.
The Register has learned that Feghali, Tatto and Faleiro are not members of the commission, prompting the question, why were they therefore invited?
A further question is why REPAM invited only politicians of the political left when the commission also contains deputies across the political spectrum. And in particular, why was Feghali invited when her views are diametrically opposed to Church teaching, and she voted against a law prohibiting infanticide among indigenous people?
Vatican officials said yesterday that the Oct. 14 meeting, which has been criticized as a politicization of the Amazon Synod and symptomatic of a politically leftist bias in the assembly, was a side event, running parallel to the synod, and therefore was not part of the synod itself.
Synod spokesman Paolo Ruffini also said “nothing in the synod can be interpreted in a political manner.”
But members of REPAM are clearly sensitive about the meeting, and questions about REPAM in general.
After Montagna had asked her question, Vatican spokeswoman Cristiane Murray — who has been publicly identified as a co-founder of REPAM — told Bishop Pascoal: “You don’t have to answer questions about parallel events.”
After Bishop Pascoal had given his answer, Murray gave an unprompted and unexpected explanation of the groups officially behind REPAM, saying it was founded in 2014 by CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, along with the Brazilian bishops’ conference, the secretariat of Latin American religious, and Caritas.
“This was just to clarify this aspect,” she said.