However, the instruction read, the "theologian should avoid turning to the 'mass media,' but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth."
The media pressure on Church issues never diminished. Benedict XVI faced the question in the letter he addressed to the bishops on the remission of the excommunication to four Lefevbrist bishops on March 12, 2009.
In his letter to Galatians, St. Paul wrote: "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another."
Benedict XVI commented that he always thought of the St. Paul's words as a "rhetorical excess," but he came, in the end, to understand that "sad to say, this 'biting and devouring' also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom."
After Pope Francis' election, media pressure on several issues intensified. Part of the reason for this increased intensity of focus can be found in Pope Francis' very pragmatic approach. Pope Francis seems to have no intention to change the doctrine, but he is open to new solutions. This could be the case with celibacy - a discipline with strong theological underpinnings, rather than a doctrine properly understood - though Pope Francis has often said he does not like the idea of changing the norm.
All of these precedents might justify the exaggerated attention conservative circles put on the outcomes of the Amazonian Synod.
However, doctrinal issues seem not to be at the center of the Papal preoccupations for the post-Synod exhortation.
Pope Francis mentioned the pan-Amazonian Synod in the traditional new year's speech to the diplomatic corps. This tends to suggest the document's purpose will rather be that of making a political impact, rather than a doctrinal one. The effect would be comparable to that of Laudato si'. Not by chance, his "ecological" encyclical is the only Papal document Francis gives to non-Christian heads of State.
This political impact must be read through the Latin American perspective.
Pope Francis is steeped in the notion of pueblo, "people." A 2014 paper by professor Loris Zanatta, "A populist Pope," underscored that Pope Francis' way of thinking and governing is an organic outgrowth of roots in Argentinian populism.
Zanatta explained that "people, according to Pope Francis, are good and virtuous. Poverty bestows on them an inner moral superiority" and that Pope Francis thinks "that wisdom, solidarity, values of the Gospel are preserved in inner-city neighborhoods. It is there that Christian society is found, the deposit of faith."
(Column continues below)
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To Pope Francis – Zanatta then argues – "that pueblo is not a sum of individualism. It is rather a community that transcends individuals, a living body animated by an ancient and natural faith, in which individuals are completely diluted. Being this, the pueblo is the Chosen People that is keeping an identity in danger."
Zanatta goes on to explain that "it is not for nothing that identity" is the other pillar of [Pope Francis']populism," and "every institution or human constitution must bow to this identity, in order not to lose the legitimacy which pueblo bestows."
The notion of people must be combined with the topic of the Latin American continentalism. The idea of continentalism was promoted by Methol Ferré, an Uruguayan philosopher who inspired Pope Francis' thought.
Continentalism re-launches Simon Bolivar's dream of a Latin American continent whose people together will give rise to a new protagonism of that land.
The Pan-Amazonian Synod must be read together with the Pope's decision to celebrate the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama, where Simon Bolivar launched his project. The 2019 WYD was a WYD for Latin America, aimed at giving new inspiration to the youth of the continent.
Following this rationale, Pope Francis wanted the pan-Amazonian Synod to solicit a collective response on a shared topic to put together the native Latin Americans and those who colonized the continent, according to the notion of miscegenation that Pope Francis often reminds.