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“Pachamama” Statues Retrieved From Tiber May be Displayed Again at Vatican

“Pachamama” Statues Retrieved From Tiber May be Displayed Again at Vatican

Pope Francis also proposes reviewing history of female deacons at conclusion of controversy-filled Amazon Synod.

Last week, we reported that faithful Catholics threw primitive figurines in the Tiber that were used in a Vatican garden ceremony and placed by an altar in Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina. The Catholic men were offended that the “Pachamama” statues were more akin to fertility goddesses than sacred Catholic images.

In an apologetic statement, Pope Frances indicated that the statues have now been dredged up and may be displayed again.

“As bishop of this diocese, I apologize to those who have been offended by this act,” said Pope Francis in the opening remarks for Friday’s afternoon general congregation, first reported by French media outlet, present in the aula.

The pontiff referred to the statuettes as “Pachamama” — up till now a pejorative used by by critics who claim she represents the pagan Mother Earth goddess — and announced that Italian police had found them and currently have them in safekeeping.

“The Commander of the Carabinieri wished to inform us of the retrieval before the news becomes public,” he said, adding that “the statues are being kept in the office of the Commander of the Italian Carabinieri.”

Pope Francis also announced the possibility of “the display of the statues at the closing Mass of the Synod.”

The move will likely anger many Catholics. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, issued an open letter condemning the use of the Pachamama statue at the Amazon Synod in the Vatican.

In the Oct. 26 open letter, Bishop Schneider is also calling on all Catholics — bishops, priests and laity — to offer acts of reparation, protest and correction for the use of the Pachamama statues, which he calls a “new golden calf.”

Bishop Schneider writes: “Syncretism and paganism are like poisons entering the veins of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.”

He continues: “As a successor to the Apostles, entrusted with care for God’s flock, I cannot remain silent in the face of the blatant violation of God’s holy will and the disastrous consequences it will have upon individual souls, the Church as a whole, and indeed the entire human race. It is therefore with great love for the souls of my brothers and sisters that I write this message.”

It seems that the Amazon synod is female-focused. Pope Francis also declared that he would be reopening a commission to study the history of women as deacons in the early days of the Catholic Church.

After calls by women for greater decision-making roles in the Church, the pope made the announcement at the end of his three-week assembly discussing issues facing the Amazon region, solutions to a shortage of priests, environmental protection and the role of women.

Francis originally opened a commission to study the possibility of women in the role in 2016, but the commission ended its work without a consensus on the topic. A gathering of 181 bishops voted on 120 recommendations presented to the pope. The recommendation to re-examine female deacons passed the two-thirds vote threshold, 137 in favor and 30 opposed, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is on top of proposing married priests, as we noted in a previous report on the Synod.


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Surprised they weren’t smashed.

You know, as a Lutheran where the official position of our denomination is that the Pope is the Antichrist (taken in various degrees of seriousness over the centuries), I really find myself starting to wonder if perhaps the opinion may be correct in some small regard.

    Sonnys Mom in reply to georgfelis. | October 29, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    In general, no, but we have a lot of problems with Francis. The Catholic conservative press has been covering this pretty much since he was elected.

Next time, we’re coming with chains and lead weights.

I sometimes wonder if Francis is trying to be defrocked and removed. I am surprised that it hasn’t been attempted already, though with a secretive an organization as the church is at it higher levels even if it did happen the world might never know.

    rabidfox in reply to Gremlin1974. | October 30, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Like Ergoden and Obama replacing generals with ones they can depend on, the Pope has been replacing conservative Cardinals with his own supporters.

The headline is dishonest and misleading which is a first for Legal Insurrection.

The Pope didn’t propose female deacons according to the article itself he proposed more study into whether or not there were female deacons in the early Church.

This is a way to ignore the call for female deacons while not being confrontational.

We know that in fact while women did help in the early Church they were never ordained.

For example women baptized women due to modesty issues but the Church teaches that any Christian, not just priests, Deacons, or even Catholics, can validly and licitly baptize.

I really don’t know why this is a surprise. The contemporizing of “The Way” has been ongoing for 2,000 years. Much has been done to conform the faith to modern culture. This is just another instance. And yes I find it offensive. But I’m not surprised.

Worst Pope in my lifetime. JP II looks better and better all the time.

Pffft. Are the statues derived from a pagan tradition? Yes. Is the Catholic Church acting according to is basic principles and precedent? YES.

I get that the symbols have a blurred message, at the moment, but the Church has encountered this situation before. Their answer has been to appropriate the local symbols, and relate them to the Church’s message.

That’s how we got Christmas trees, and lights, and even the date for Christmas.

Anybody who wants to be a purist and throw out all our pagan roots has to give up Christmas. And Easter.

Or, we can choose to recognize the parallels that hint at a “God-shaped hole in the human heart.”

I am also aware that other groups are busy trying to appropriate these symbols. May the Church win on that one, too.

    alaskabob in reply to Valerie. | October 29, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    This is more about true idols. i wonder if a golden calf could works its way into one of these ceremonies as a acid test?

    Milwaukee in reply to Valerie. | October 29, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    “That’s how we got Christmas trees, and lights, and even the date for Christmas.”

    About the date for Christmas, NO. Early Christians believed the Annunciation, when Christ was conceived, was March 25th, which is the date of the Crucifixion. If conceived on the March 25th then Nativity on December 25th follows. Later Easter was moved to the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, which is when we celebrate Easter now. The Roman celebrations associated with Christmas, the Saturnalia, is Winter equinox, which is December 21st, and the Romans knew the difference between the 21st and 25th of December. There are many who wish to besmirch Christianity, and the charge that Christmas borrowed the date of a pagan celebration is one of those smears.

    My knowledge base isn’t large enough to cover Christmas trees and Christmas lights. No doubt some things have been “repurposed”.

      Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | October 29, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      In Julius Caesar’s day, when the modern calendar was introduced, the solstice was on the 25th, not the 21st.

        Milwaukee in reply to Milhouse. | October 31, 2019 at 2:42 am

        The numbers on the calendar mean nothing. The Winter Solstice and the Nativity of Christ Jesus are not on the same day, regardless of the numbers on the calendar, or the type of calendar being used.

        Don’t be pedantic.

    Milwaukee in reply to Valerie. | October 29, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    “Anybody who wants to be a purist and throw out all our pagan roots has to give up Christmas. And Easter.”

    Christmas is celebrating the Incarnation of the Son of the Living God. Christ is 100% God and 100% man, made possible by His Incarnation. Cut him and he bleeds. He was like us in all things but sin. I am confident in stating there is nothing in any pagan religion anywhere to compare with this Incarnation.

    Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of the Incarnate God. He who was dead is now alive. I am confident there is nothing in pagan religions to compare. The whole idea is outrageous and ridiculous. The idea that God made us for himself, but he wants us to choose him. Sin divides us from our Father. By dying, Christ took on the sins of the world that we may be purified enough to be with our Heavenly Father, in Heaven. If you know where anything like this is in pagan religions, I would look forward to your sharing your knowledge with us.

    Mark Twain observed that the difference between fiction and truth is that fiction must be plausible, but the truth has no such restrictions. Truly, the whole “Christ died for your sins, and the sins of the whole world.” is wild. Christ, as others have pointed out, is either who he said he was, the Son of the living God, or a total fraud. No one before or haver has made such an astounding claim.

    InEssence in reply to Valerie. | October 29, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    You are missing the nuance. Catholic are supposed to evangelize the culture while keeping as much of it as possible. That is why pagan things worked their way into Catholic culture as well as the general culture.

    It is far different to put the pagan things into a prayer service.

    For example, Christmas trees probably came from the German culture, but there is no “Christmas tree” ritual in the Catholic Church.

    The same can be said for other things that you mentioned such as Easter eggs.

    Catholics overlay the dates, objects, and celebrations. To an outsider, it might seem that they are part of the service, but they are not. They are encouraged because it makes people feel like they are home.

    It is all about finding a common ground.

The idols– and yes, that’s exactly what they are, “pachamama” being a South American pagan fertility goddess– were nowhere to be seen at the closing Mass that ended the synod. We think perhaps because several unnamed bishops made it clear that if those things were brought into the Church again, they would not attend the final Mass.

Saturnalia was not celebrated during the Winter Solstice under the Julian Calendar, it started over a week earlier and ended several days before the solstice. Unless the early Christians were buddies with the druids, the selection of the date had nothing to do with pagans at the time.

Christmas trees are indeed pagan in origin, but are no more indicative of Christmas than Easter eggs are of Easter. Christmas trees are a late addition to the way Christmas is celebrated in a secular and cultural fashion in northwestern Europe, then North America. They are by no means universal in how Christmas was celebrated throughout the ages and throughout many churches in many cultures. It’s also been well over a thousand years since Europeans were tree worshippers in any non-trivial numbers. Use of pagan statues by Christians is frankly stupid.

There isn’t a pope in modern time who displayed fewer Christian attributes than Francis.