As a cradle Catholic, a former altar boy, and having lived six decades as a practicing Catholic, I lament and admit that I thought I would never see the day a pope would publicly, and without shame, bless, honor, and allow to be venerated, a pagan idol, as he did so in Rome last month at the Amazon Synod, a special meeting of select bishops and cardinals, which for the most part passed under the radar of the main media.
The Synod, lasting three weeks, was called to address and promote “ecological integrity” in the Amazon region, under the pretext of a dearth of priests, for which the recommendation has been made to enlist indigenous married men as priests, as well as to evangelize the vast and hard to reach areas. Also discussed was establishing a diaconate ministry for women for this area, thought by many to be a foregone conclusion. These strategies were being concocted while Pentecostals, using the Bible, are reportedly converting indigenous in droves.
Anyway, a ceremony was held in the Vatican gardens at the beginning of the conference and a carved wooden statue, identified by Pope Francis himself as the Pachamama, representing to the indigenous peoples, the goddess Mother Earth, prayed to and venerated by the indigenous people, was toted out, and ceremoniously spread out along with other pagan items, and were venerated.
The Pachamama ritual and worship has its roots in certain indigenous tribes of the Incan people, especially in Peru, where the tiers of gods/goddesses worshiped consist of the “mountain gods” as supreme, then below them the Pachamama (earth goddess), and then below her, Jesus, Mary, and the Saints. Vatican video and photos of the Vatican garden ceremony show 15 congregants in the round, bowing down, prostrating themselves and praying to the centerpieced Pachamama whose carved wooden figure is that of a naked, very pregnant woman, kneeling with head bowed. Pope Francis later blessed the Pachamama, as well as accepted during Mass an offering of a potted plant in dirt, representing who-knows-what (received upon the same altar as the Holy Sacrifice of Christ).
All of this, of course, the Vatican says is directed toward the inculturation of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region; to bring them into the fold, as it were, in order to better evangelize them as well as influence the international powers that be to establish an “integral ecology” in the region, to preserve the ecology there, and the world’s ecology at large.
A few, not many, cardinals and bishops, have publicly and loudly denounced these actions, departures from the apostolic faith. They are Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Khahzakstan, Cardinal Gerhard Müller of Germany, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Africa, and Fathers Mitch Pacwa (EWTN), and Gerald Murray (EWTN). With the grace of God these men, true shepherds, will, going forward, lead and sustain Catholics and other Christians in the apostolic faith.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, of Kazakhstan, stated boldly that this Pachamama pagan idol was the new “golden calf.” The support for Bishop Schneider’s words is astounding.
In defending the apostolic faith Bishop Schneider explained, from Divine Revelation: “You shall have no other gods before Me” says the Lord God. (Ex 20:3); “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below…you shall not bow down before them or worship them.” (Ex 20:4-5). He adds that St. Paul would say about those participating, “They worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” (Rom 1:25).
These representations belong to the rituals of the Amazonian tribes, to the worship of the so-called Mother Earth, the Pachamama. These figures were also, during the Synod, venerated in St. Peter’s Basilica, in front of the tomb of St. Peter. Vatican spokesmen downplayed, in typical Vaticanese, the obvious syncretistic character of the statues. But video and photos inform us otherwise.
If you are Catholic in these parts, and have been following these events, you already know there is a deafening and unsettling silence from most bishops, including ours, regarding an explanation of these acts and how they incorporate into Catholic teaching. Hopefully, an explanation or clarification is coming.
Let us and all fellow Christians pray that God raise up men and women, and clergymen, to speak out against these scandals, and to pray for the Holy Father, and those who advise him, that in his deliberations he may be guided by the Holy Spirit, teach and clarify the faith, and be receptive to the will of God.
May we seek reparations for the shortcomings of those involved, pray for their reconciliation, and hope the apostolic faith will prevail. We know it will, as Jesus said about his Church: “….and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”