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Bishop Says Amazon Mission Should Not Begin With The Poor But With Jesus Christ

It’s admittedly a bit of a discordant note in a synod of bishops in which the Church’s social gospel, focused on the poor, the climate and the indigenous people of the region, is a touchstone, but one prelate taking part says the point of departure really shouldn’t be the slums of the Amazon but the person of Christ.

“I told my seminarians 32 years ago: if we begin from the periphery, from the favelas [Brazil’s famous slums] to try to find Christ, our efforts won’t come to fruition, because we’ll encounter thousands of enemies along the way,” said Italian Bishop Giuliano Frigeni, 73, who’s served in Brazil’s Amazon region for 40 years and been the bishop of Parintins since 1999.

“But if our faith starts with Christ, when we reach the periphery, we’ll be able to say we have found him,” the bishop said. “We have to start from Christ if we want to reach those who’ve been discarded by today’s world.”

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