February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has seemingly criticized Pope Francis for asserting in his exhortation released this week that the Amazon region belongs to people other than the nations among which the territory is spread.
Speaking yesterday, Bolsonaro said: “Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world’s, everyone’s. Well, the pope may be Argentinian, but God is Brazilian.”
In section 5 of Querida Amazonia, published on Wednesday, Pope Francis stated that he was addressing his exhortation on the Amazon region “to the whole world.” He wrote: “I am doing so to help awaken their affection and concern for that land which is also ‘ours,’ and to invite them to value it and acknowledge it as a sacred mystery.”
Bolsonaro has spoken out forcefully in the past against suggestions that the Amazon belongs to the whole world. Speaking at the United Nations in New York last year, he said: “It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception, as confirmed by scientists, to say that our Amazonian forests are the lungs of the world.”
When Bolsonaro was elected in 2018, Catholics and pro-life campaigners described him as someone who could turn Brazil “from being a promoter of the Culture of Death to a defender of the Culture of Life.” Since then, he has announced plans to revise textbooks in public schools in order to eliminate references to homosexuality and same-sex “marriage,” signed a proclamation consecrating Brazil to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and consistently opposed socialism while promoting national sovereignty. His government minister for women, family, and human rghts has called on parents to consider telling their teenage children to wait until adulthood to have sex and has supported a chastity campaign sponsored by evangelical Christians.
Yesterday Pope Francis held an “informal meeting” with former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula.”
Lula was arrested in April of 2018 because of corruption charges and subsequently sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment. However, he was released in November of last year. He claims he was arrested despite a lack of evidence and that all appeals had not been exhausted prior to his imprisonment.
As president, Lula had strongly supported the cause of homosexuals and abortionists in Brazil. In his last year in public office, he issued a legislative reform initiative securing abortion as a “human right” and imposing socialist and homosexual ideologies in schools and in the media. He also intended to ban crucifixes from all official government buildings. Lula spent millions of dollars for pro-homosexual causes and even introduced pro-homosexual educational materials for children as young as 7 to 12 years of age.
In 2018, Pope Francis met with allies of Lula in Rome,and also wrote to him giving him his blessing and asking the politician to pray for him. Pope Francis allegedly compared Lula’s sufferings in prison to the persecution of Jesus.
In section 9 of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis writes: “The colonizing interests that have continued to expand — legally and illegally — the timber and mining industries, and have expelled or marginalized the indigenous peoples, the river people and those of African descent, are provoking a cry that rises up to heaven.”
Bolsonaro has supported mining projects on indigenous lands and accused those who attack his development projects of not being concerned with “the indigenous human being, but with the mineral wealth and biodiversity in these areas.”
At the U.N. last year, he noted that there are 225 indigenous tribes in Brazil, and some reserves, notably the Yanomami and Raposa Serra do Sol, have “plenty of gold, diamond, uranium, niobium, and rare earths, among others,” and are huge territories populated by few people.
“Unfortunately, some people both inside and outside Brazil, supported by NGOs, have stubbornly insisted on treating and keeping our Indians as if they are real cavemen,” Bolsonaro said.
Brazil’s native peoples are “human beings” who “want and deserve to enjoy the same rights as all of us,” he said. They “do not want to be poor, large landholders sitting on rich lands … especially sitting on the world’s richest lands.”
Pope Francis is not known to have been critical of former president Lula, either for his support of abortion or for his support of pro-homosexual educational materials being used to teach young children in Brazilian schools.