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The Amazon Synod & Charges of Idolatry


The worship of anyone or anything other than almighty God is a violation of the first commandment. As with all transgressions, while objectively wrong the subjective culpability is judged by God alone. This is why the Holy Father says there was no “idolatrous intent” even if the situation got out of hand. Nevertheless, if the indigenous shaman and her friends out of ignorance truly did not know better, those Catholic clerics (who would certainly know right from wrong) might be more culpable. I suspect this is why many critics are demanding correction, repentance and reparation for the public and objective grave sins likely committed at the Amazonian synod.

Regardless of intention, the placing of idols in a church is sacrilegious act offensive to God. Those demanding recantation point to the following:

  • The pope allowed and attended an act of idolatrous worship of “pachamama,” a pagan goddess.
  • The Vatican Gardens as well as the graves of the martyrs and of the church of the Apostle Peter were desecrated.
  • The pope participated in this idolatry by blessing the “pachamama” image.
  • The pope prayed with an idol (naked woman with child) placed in front of the altar at St. Peter’s and joined in procession with it.
  • After wooden images were taken from Santa Maria Church and thrown into the Tiber by outraged Catholics, the pope apologized for their removal.
  • A new profanation was committed when another wooden image of “pachamama” was returned to the church.
  • At the closing Mass, the pope accepted a bowl (of plants) used in the idolatrous worship of “pachamama” and placed it on the altar.
  • The pope called the images “pachamama” in his apology for their removal: a name for a false goddess of mother earth (in South America).

Beginning with St. Paul, the early Church fathers taught that sacrifices made to pagan idols were actually oblations made to demons. Christians were urged to have no part in them or even to take of the food that was subsequently shared with the poor.

“No, I mean that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to become participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).

I will have to give some serious reflection to this matter before writing further.  My suspicion is that the Holy Father’s compassion for wayward children was given precedence over their errant behavior.  Note that when initially presented with the statue he crossed himself instead of the image.  When pressed to bless and receive it, did he truly bless it or was it a simple exorcism?  When he takes it notice that the statue is quickly passed off to an attendant.  


9 Responses

  1. Bishop Marian Eleganti of Chur, Switzerland, called the pagan rituals a “scandal.” He clarified that even if there was no idolatrous intention as the pope said that “there would still remain the scandal that, at least, it looks like such [idolatry] and that the Rock of Peter [the Pope] is not at all getting worried about it. On the contrary, the pope “even defends those rituals conducted in the Vatican Gardens” which are “alien to Christianity.” “It is not understandable to an observer that the publicly displayed veneration of Pachamama at the Amazon Synod is not meant to be idolatry.”

  2. Bishop José Luis Azcona Hermoso, the Bishop Emeritus of the Brazilian city of Marajó condemned the pagan rituals as “demonic sacrilege.” He said: “Mother Earth should not be worshipped because everything, even the earth, is under the dominion of Jesus Christ. It is not possible that there are spirits with power equal or superior to Our Lord or of the Virgin Mary. The invocation of the statues before which even some religious bowed at the Vatican (and I won’t mention which congregation they belong), is an invocation of a mythical power, of Mother Earth, from which they ask blessings or make gestures of gratitude. These are scandalous demonic sacrileges, especially for the little ones who are not able to discern. Pachamama is not and never will be the Virgin Mary. To say that this statue represents the Virgin is a lie. She is not Our Lady of the Amazon because the only Lady of the Amazon is Mary of Nazareth. Let’s not create syncretistic mixtures. All of that is impossible: the Mother of God is the Queen of Heaven and earth.”

  3. Bishop Athanasius Schneider wrote: “Catholics cannot accept any pagan worship, nor any syncretism between pagan beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic Church. The acts of worship of kindling a light, of bowing, of prostrating or profoundly bowing to the ground and dancing before an unclothed female statue, which represents neither Our Lady nor a canonized saint of the Church, violates the first Commandment of God: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’”

  4. Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino stated: “The syncretism evident in the ritual celebrated around an immense floor covering, directed by an Amazonian woman and in front of several ambiguous and unidentified images in the Vatican gardens this past October 4, should be avoided. The reason for the criticism is precisely because of the primitive nature and pagan appearance of the ceremony and the absence of openly Catholic symbols, gestures and prayers during the various gestures, dances and prostrations of that surprising ritual. This type of syncretism should be avoided entirely.”

  5. Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated: “These two young men who threw these tasteless idols into the Tiber have not committed theft, but have done a deed, a symbolic act as we know it from the Prophets of the Old Covenant, from Jesus – see the cleansing of the Temple – and from Saint Boniface who felled the Thor Oak near Geismar. These two courageous ‘Maccabees’ who have removed the ‘horrors of the devastation of a holy site’ are the prophets of today.”

  6. Cardinal Gerhard Müller said that 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 – idolism [idolatry] is a grave sin and not to mix them with the Christian liturgy.”

  7. Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Germany has criticized the pachamama statues and compared the so-called sacred tree with the pagan Thor Oak that Saint Boniface cut down in Germany.

  8. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has condemned the pachamama statues as “appalling idolatrous profanations.” He states: “The abomination of idolatrous rites has entered the sanctuary of God and has given rise to a new form of apostasy whose seeds, which have been active for a long time, are growing with renewed vigor and effectiveness.”

  9. I think it is a mistake to call pachamama a goddess. My understanding is the pagans who were followers of the light path worshipped God in Nature. God may not have intended religious wars and strife but God made humans free and a consequence of this freedom is a different perspective or way of seeing God.

    However I don’t like Pope Francis, and his political nonsense… he is a puppet of communists and use this type of ideology for political power… they are fakes. I had a dream about Benedict after meeting him at World Yourh Day Germany. He was kicked off a truck and they took over an official building with flags of all nations. People were loitering and smoking and spitting outside. The communists have infiltrated the Church.

    They see environmentalism and science as tools to claim authority over others. There is a dark spiritual element to a lot of those who hide behind these “righteous” causes. Pope Francis is one of these wolves in sheep’s clothes.

    People will leave the religions and seek community with other lovers of God and lovers of Nature, because they are interconnected, but not in a way that seeks control over others. I see this in my own life as people start to wake up. And suddenly religion is less important than values.

    FATHER JOE: Worshipping God in nature or as identified with nature is false worship. This makes the pachamama a goddess and idol. The Catholic faith is valuable because it is in Jesus Christ that sins are forgiven and that we live in the hope of eternal life. That is a lot more important the the trite slogans of the day and its humanist values.

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