Recent scandals arising from the Synod on the Amazon have caused reactions. The episode of the statuettes of an idol venerated in the capital of Christendom is revealing.
Their exhibition in the Vatican Gardens on October 4, 2019, before the Pope and his entourage could only cause shock. There was a procession, a dance, a small sanctuary where the dancing procession of Pachamama worshipers prostrated themselves ostentatiously on all fours in front of two wooden statues representing naked and pregnant women—not to mention the presence of a phallic figure lying on his back. This exotic event was not only a folkloric display, it symbolized “the cry of the Amazonian land and native peoples,” and sought to pay tribute to the local, ancestral, and primitive culture, and to the spiritual heritage of this region BEFORE the coming of the Gospel. In other words, tribute to a pagan culture with its rites, beliefs and idols.
Its rites, even fetishistic, suddenly became respectable. Its primitive and carnal beliefs became a legitimate path for the Synod, and the whole Church with it. Its idols, gross and abominable, became the object of all solicitude. The carabinieri had to fish them out of the river after a brave soul threw them into the Tiber.
Quo Vadis Francisce ?
The Pope apologized, even asking forgiveness: “I would like to say a word about the ‘Pachamama’ statues that were removed from the Church at Traspontina, which were there without idolatrous intentions and were thrown into the Tiber. First of all, this happened in Rome and, as bishop of the diocese, I ask pardon of the people who were offended by this act.”
At least he did not imitate the hypocrisy of some prelates or the press room of the Holy See who dared not call the idol by its name. Francis knows South America very well and knows how to call a spade, a spade. So they were really, truly statues of Pachamama, the Mother Earth goddess.
So there were no idolatrous intentions—is this so sure? why then these rites?—this takes nothing away from the scandal. What is an idol doing in a holy place? Since when does the Pope, the Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome, tolerate such a spectacle? Did he want to insult the blood of the so numerous martyrs killed in this city that he could not handle it some other way? Quo vadis Francisce?
Reactions From Almost All Sides
The reactions were lively. The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X is inviting everyone to participate in a day of fasting and prayer on November 9, to make reparations for this scandal, but also for the orientation taken by the Synod which, alas, unsurprisingly, attacks the Catholic priesthood and inverts the power of the Order in the Church—all with the blessing of the hierarchs. But Fr. Davide Pagliarani is far from alone.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, interviewed by Raymond Arroyo in Washington, said it very well: “The great mistake was to bring the idols into the Church, not to put them out, because according to the Law of God Himself – the First Commandment – idolatry is a grave sin…a crime against the Divine Law.”
Many Catholics have also come out to condemn this odious spectacle: the Church must bring Jesus Christ to the peoples of the Amazon, the Amazonian idols should not invade the Church of God. Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication in the Vatican, is trying to justify the unjustifiable, even quoting St. Francis of Assisi and Cardinal Newman, whose faith he so much defiles like an unholy, zealous missionary.
Another reaction is that of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who does not hesitate to denounce the syncretism and paganism, “which are like poisons entering the veins of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.” He recalls the sad spectacle of those days that saw the idols venerated before the Tomb of St. Peter, greeted by Pope Francis or placed in the Synod Hall, a place of honor. He condemns the worship of the pagan symbol Pachamama and calls for prayer and reparation.
It is indeed all that remains to be done, hoping that the pope and those responsible for these execrable drifts become aware of their fault and finally assume the obligations and duties of their office: to confirm the flock in the faith, and not in a vague pantheistic and ecological syncretism.
One regret: not one of the official sites of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, the Institute of Christ the King, or the Fraternity of St. Peter has published any communiqué or taken a stand as of the writing of these lines. Should we be surprised?
Yet there are serious situations where silence is not allowed, where the defense of the faith is an honor as much as a duty.