The only thing I will write about the Amazon Synod

Today, some thieves broke into a church, stole some statues, and threw them into the river. Perhaps the perpetrators consider themselves a pack of modern St. Bonifaces, tackling pagan idols head on, plus a little bit of Jesus with a whip, cleansing the temple. 

There are a few problems with this approach. One is that stealing and vandalism are sins, full stop. If your goal is to defend the Church, then you really need to start with defending the ten commandments. 

The second problem is it is by no means clear that the statues they stole and threw away are actually idols. Maybe they were fertility symbols, maybe they were Mary and Elizabeth at the Visitation, maybe they just sorta “represented life.” Maybe they were something in between, and if so, maybe that’s how inculturation is supposed to work; or maybe it’s syncretism, which is definitely not how it’s supposed to work. If the statues were idols, then they don’t belong in the church. If they weren’t, then people who threw them into the river were at very least stealing and destroying property, possibly being racist, and possibly committing some light blasphemy. 

Myself, I err like responsible hunters err: If the light is dim, and that moving object might be a deer or it might be your buddy, don’t shoot. Same with a statue: If it might depict my mother, I’m not going to cheer when someone chucks it into a river of filth.

I don’t especially like what I’ve seen about the Synod. But I try to resist basing my opinions on hinky-looking snippets. As with so many other current events, I assume almost everyone who reports on the Synod (especially people who weren’t there) is either lying or being lied to (and yes, I’m “both sidesing.” Sometimes it’s appropriate.)  A lot of the people who hate it are pretty frankly racist, and simply reject any expression of Christianity that doesn’t look European. A lot of the people who love it are pretty frankly heterodox, and are already fully on board with women priests, contraception for all, etc. Some of the people defending the Synod are coming across as fairly racist and paternalistic. And always, as we know, just because you’re an asshole doesn’t mean you’re wrong

I’m on the record as no blind fan of Pope Francis, especially in his mishandling of the ongoing abuse crisis.  I think he is a sloppy man who tends to speak out of personal animosity, without fully realizing or caring what effect his words have on the whole Church (and on individual people, especially priests). But I have also noticed that, when other people present him with heterodox ideas, he tends to shut them down right away, instinctively. When the synod opened with what sure looked like a pagan ritual, for instance, he discarded his prepared remarks and instead led the crowd in the Our Father

And this is why I have hope that, when (which seems more likely than “if”) the synodal committee (or whatever it is) presents him with some kind of garbagey conclusions, he will reject them, as other popes have done in the past. Recall that John XXIII’s Pontifical Commission presented him with the recommendation that the Church accept and bless contraception; and the pope read it and responded: “No. When a bunch of theologians get together and talk about their druthers, of course it’s going to be a bunch of stupid stuff that shouldn’t and couldn’t happen. What’s most likely to happen is that the Vatican, in its lumbering bureaucratic wisdom, will take all the findings and send them to committee, and appoint a blue ribbon commission, and nothing will change. That really is the most likely thing. Or maybe the Pope will issue another amorphous encyclical and people will go blind trying to beat either wisdom or heresy out of it. 

Or maybe we’ll end up with female deacons and some married priests, and I’m really not convinced that would be the end of the world, either. 

But isn’t it possible that we’re really going off the rails this time, and the pope will let Unequivocally Bad Things Happen? Sure. All kinds of things are possible. The world has to end sometime, and maybe it’s starting now. 

But here we arrive at the third problem with cosplaying St. Boniface, posting it to YouTube, and calling it living our faith: No matter what is actually happening at the Synod, and no matter how the Pope will respond, the most useful thing, possibly the only useful thing we can do 

is

to

pray. 

Oh, I’m sorry, did you roll your eyes? Did you really just sigh impatiently at the idea that our response to trials and uncertainty should be to pray? Then that’s your problem right there. That’s a bigger problem for you, personally, than anything that can possibly happen in Rome. If you let yourself think that anything you can do online — signing petitions, sniping on Twitter, gathering screenshots and sharing them on your site — is more important than praying, then you are on a bad road and you need to stop and turn around before you get to the end.

You think Cardinal Kaspar is bad! Wait till you meet the worm who dieth not. 

Everyone wants to imitate Jesus in the one time He showed some temper with the whip in the temple. Dude, you are not Jesus. It’s a much safer bet to imitate Him in the other 99% of the Gospels, like when He preached the good news, when He fed His sheep, when he gave over His body, and when He fixed His eyes firmly on the Father and then told us to do the same

Oops, that’s what the Pope did, too. When in doubt, pray an Our Father. 

It’s really easy to imitate outward actions. A saint did this, so I will, too! But let me tell you: The real work that every Christian is compelled to do is interior work. And it’s hard. And it doesn’t get a lot of views on YouTube. But it is what will save your soul. 

We have an obligation to know, love, and serve God, and to teach our children to know, love, and serve God. I can do these things without following everything tagged #amazonsynod. In fact, I can do these things far better without following anything tagged #amazon synod. 

Maybe you’re different from me. Maybe following the news is helping you to grow closer to Christ. I’m not telling you what your own soul is like. But if you do feel that it’s your obligation to publicly take a stand on the news and educate yourself thoroughly about all possible ins and outs, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself:

How is my response to the news affecting my spiritual life?
Do I find it easier or harder to be good to other people since I started getting involved?
The more time I spend thinking and talking about it, do I find I am growing in faith, hope, and love?
When I follow the news more closely, and get into more conversations about it, am I increasing in personal virtue? If so, which virtues? 

That really is our central responsibility: Our own souls, our own spiritual state. We neglect that responsibility at our eternal peril. If news of the synod is causing you to sin, then pluck it out. 

***
Image is a screenshot from this video

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58 thoughts on “The only thing I will write about the Amazon Synod”

  1. Since this whole discussion started, I have found onine a booklet published by the Italian bishops’ conference in which there is a prayer to Pachamama. In the booklet, it starts out with a heading “Preghiera” (Italian word for prayer) and it asks Pachamama to accept the food and drink that we offer to her. The “prayer” asks her to do things, like, to make the seeds grow well, etc. At the end of the prayer is the note that Pachamama is the Mother Earth of the Incan people. The Pope has recently – when the statues were retrieved from the Tiber – indicated that the statue(s) are Pachamama (not the Blessed Virgin Mary) – and clearly the statues are not intended to represent the God of the Bible. Pachamama has a well known identity – well known in her region of the world at least – which you can verify in many sources – Pachamama is an ancient South American (Incan) goddess who at least in the past was quite happy to receive human sacrifice including child sacrifice – something the God of Israel had strong feelings about, and something He opposed. So – our God is not good with human sacrifice, but funny thing, Pachamama historically was. But even these days Pachamama does in some circles still receive sacrifice, as this prayer suggests – offerings of food and drink. I see online in several sources (historical and cultural sites) that some people will sacrifice a fetal llama to Pachamama, or other animals, or crops from the field. But this really is not the God we worship, who told us, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” In the Old Testament, those who covenanted with the one true God had to leave their local gods behind, and for the past 2,000 years, those who accepted Christianity did the same in many countries or cultures. Those who believe that indigenous people who we consider “primitive” are not capable of understanding Christianity and the Christian God are being patronizing – and should consider reading books such as “Through Gates of Splendor” by Elisabeth Elliot, or “The End of the Spear” by Steve Saint, or Peace Child by Don Richardson. Tribes in Ecuador and in New Guinea have found faith in Jesus while retaining their cultural identity but giving up practices incompatible with Christianity such as killing for trivial reasons or for sport (spearing people). Protestant missionaries have helped to end headhunting and cannibalsim in tribes that actually were weary of that way of life. Elisabeth Elliot’s husband and Steve Saint’s dad were killed by members of an Ecuadorian tribe, and died having made the previous decision not to fight back if attacked, in order to show Christ’s love for the Huaorani people who did in fact come to understand Jesus’ death for us as they came to terms with the death of these Christian martyrs in their midst. Anyway, it seems clear to me that Pachamama represents a pagan, non-Christian religion, and anyone who wants to choose that religion instead of faith in Jesus Christ, is free to do so but it’s a dead end. The Living God does not seek worship through sacrifices of llamas etc. Mixing in worship of a pagan god with Catholic liturgy is mistaken and prayers to Pachamama appear to be a violation of the First Commandment. Prayer for the Church is a good thing, and a good response to the Synod, but when something contrary to our faith is being discussed publicly, I think it’s important to clarify the truth. I think the prayer in the booklet by the Italian bishops is unfortunate, but it does seem to me to clarify the situation in that it is a prayer to an Incan deity. I have not posted the link but it can of course be searched out online for those who have interest to see it.

  2. The Pope himself called the idol Pachamama. In case folks are wondering who Pachamama is, National Geographic has a nice write-up on the cult of the Amazonian fertility goddess.

    The question really is, how far will people go to justify idolatry in the Catholic Church. Are all the Pentecostals converting the Amazonian people to the Christian faith in droves correct in saying that the Catholic Church promotes idolatry? They are if we remain silent on this apostasy. If Catholics can’t defend the 10 commandments and the Magisterium, then maybe we don’t believe it and our Church deserves to whither and lose members by the millions.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/south-america/bolivia/la-paz-bolivia-witch-market/#close

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-pachamama-pope/

  3. “If your goal is to defend the Church, then you really need to start with defending the ten commandments.”

    Yep, the commandments. Starting with commandment no. 1 which is … Oh, wait.

  4. BJ – I understand you think the priest I had referenced is ignorant, and thus for anyone interested, I found this statement by Dr. Edward Peters, who is a canon lawyer who is on faculty at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He has the opinion that the Pachamamma did not belong in a Catholic church, and he cites the relevant canons in his blog post. https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/whatever-that-was-it-wasnt-a-stunt/

    Those who have already made up their minds one way or the other will have no need for the blog post, but one might consider in the very early days of the church in England, St. Greogory the Great, Pope from 590 AD to 604 AD told St. Augustine of Kent it was fine to let the people have their local folk customs, any that were not connected to idolatry – don’t suppress them. But anything involving idolatory should be rejected, and encourage the people to reject things that are related to idolatry.

    Moving forward, St Vladimir the Great, rule of Kievan Rus from 980 AD – 1015 AD (Kievan Rus was in eastern Europe and culturally gave rise to Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) – had all his people toss their pagan idols into the river at the time he and his people became Christian, before the people were baptized in the river. It is possible to keep many good aspects of one’s culture while becoming Christian, as many have, without continuing to hold onto pagan gods, or goddesses.

    I saw also a criticism about which countries, mountains or rivers were actually associated with the pachamama. The Amazon mountains are in 7 South American countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and others. The “Amazon River Basin” which has rivers and land that drain into the Amazon system, that have rain forest that are part of the “Amazon Rain Forest” include Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and others. Keep in mind the headwaters of the Amazon River are in the Andes Mountains in Peru. Many of the Amazonian River Basin countries are countries where the Andes Mountains are also present.

    Whoever had the idea to bring Pachamama into the Amazonian Synod at the Vatican apparently thought she had something to do with Amazonian culture, and that seems to be correct – not necessarily that every tribe and every person in the very large Amazonian territory has some connection to Pachamama, but you can check many websites and see that Pachamama has been considered a goddess by many in the Amazonian region, and animal sacrifices have been offered to her. It seems very unwise and inconsistent with Catholic faith, to bring Pachamama into a Catholic church, bow to her, and incorporate her into Catholic liturgy. This can only cause confusion. Since I had already, previously, quoted the first commandment, I will leave it at that, and will leave the canon lawyer to speak for himself at the link above.

  5. I agree with you.

    1. We can’t trust articles written by people who AREN’T at the synod themselves and who ALREADY dislike and want to be rid of Pope Francis. That’s like believing your 13 year old who hates school, when he says he’s “sick” for the 12th time this month, so he can stay home from school. They aren’t interested in investigating the truth, they jump on anything they can use as proof that Pope Francis is incompetent.

    2. All we can do is pray. And trust the Holy Spirit. We’ve definitely had some bad popes in history. Yet the Holy Spirit still kept the Church on track.

    3. It is always better to wait and see than to jump to conclusions and start spouting them out and then have to take it all back.

  6. It’s too bad that Ms. Fisher is so confused about whether the statue is or isn’t Mary. The Vatican answered that question definitively, and anyone commenting on the subject should have gotten that clear before sitting down at the computer to write. Ed Peter’s did a much more factual and well-reasoned blog post on the issue.
    https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/whatever-that-was-it-wasnt-a-stunt/

    When I think of instances like this, I’m reminded that St. Peter Damian wouldn’t have been nearly as effective as he was if the parishes that he was sent in to reform weren’t in open revolt with riots, etc. over the licentious and immoral conduct of their priests. By comparison, this seems rather tame.

    Pope Francis told us to make a mess. The Vatican is always talking about how people should break the law to help illegal immigrants. Funny how people all of a sudden get very legalistic when the shoe is on the other foot.

    1. It’s Mrs Fisher. She’s married. So clearly a Mrs. to a Mr Fisher. Did you look into this fact? Just saying that incase, you know, you weren’t aware that the pot and the kettle are both black. Nevertheless I agree with you it’s absolute sacrilege to pass an unidentifiable statue of a nude lady as Our Blessed Mother. Without even a halo (or clothing for that matter) to symbolise Her significant Holiness, you couldn’t tell who it was meant to be..? They could have made the claim that it was Our Lady, AFTER the fact. It’s wrong. Period. How would those Bishops like it if someone propped a naked statue of their mother for the public to see. Now would they be ok with it and accept it as “cultural inclusiveness”? I think not.

  7. Was Moses guilty of violating the seventh commandment when he destroyed the golden calf; how about Jesus destroying property when he overturned the tables.

    1. Hubris – a sense of false pride that makes a man defy God, sometimes to the degree that he considers himself an equal. The tables have already been turned. You are not Him. Via, our new Saint – “The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees, incense, lamps and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water, asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the church”. St. Cardinal John Henry Newman . Our Lord has overcome the world. Our job is to follow Him and overcome it also, and that does not mean to be overcome by our insecurity’s about a piece of painted wood. We make idols of anything we fear more than our Lord, just the same as we love more than our Lord. Repent .

      1. Thank you, Peg. The holy Cardinal’s writings – in particular, the Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine from which you quoted – were essential in bringing me into the Church, at the end of 1995. I have prayed for his canonisation since then.

      2. Peg, well put. To all who quote Old Testament passages of what Moses did or one of the Prophets did or one of the OT Kings did, they are failing to understand that we are not under the Old Covenant law of Moses anymore. We are under the New Covenant of Christ’s Kingdom, we have the new Law of the Holy Spirit, Moses and the prophets could only dream about this day, we are privileged to live it and experience it through the Eucharist. The Church has the power to transform and christianize and redeem the fallen world.

      3. Ive seen this argument put forward before and I have to say I must just not get it. I feel like I missed something. I suppose buildings can be dedicated in their purpose to God, and branches or other gifts can be given to God etc? So are we giving this pachamama as artwork to God or something? If it is itself an idol I’m not sure that would be a good gift to God. Maybe I’m just not understanding.

      4. I think this is a misrepresentation of Newman’s point. Everything that was created by God and given to us as gift can rightly be given back or in some way used to show God’s glory. Branches, song, chant, water, shrines etc. these things generally can all be put to use in such a way that they honor and glorify God (i.e. There is nothing inherently pagan about branches, buildings, chant, incense) But things that are specifically made and used as objects of pagan worship cannot be incorporated into Christian worship and practice because by their specific design and intent they are a reproach to Christ.

  8. I wanted to share this piece with some friends, but I’m afraid they’ll read the comments and think your blog is a playground for jerks and idiots.

    1. Yes, they might start thinking along the lines of the First Commandment! We can’t have that now, can we?!
      Nice of you to characterize those of us who disagree as idiots and jerks.

  9. I think that this is a good article, if a bit insular and myopic, in my opinion.

    Personal prayer / salvation is central, primal. Pope Francis says it again and again. Daily. Personal prayer is mirrored and reflected in the world, our relationships and union with everybody else. Francis rightly leads us through this sacred balancing act on a global scale.

    Prayer and that inner work is not done in vacuum. The world and our individual souls go together.

  10. I have no problem with someone “breaking the law” if it means defending your Faith. Seriously, how can you appropriate a naked statue and stick it in an Italian Church and expect people to be ok about it?

    Anyway, Check this out:
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5096839/Man-CHARGED-painting-mural-St-George-Michael.html
    I mean it was a hot-headed Christian Lebanese man who went off his rocker, but honestly, God Bless him.

    Admittedly, he wasn’t stealing property from a Church and throwing it into a river, but you know so what. Those bishops deserve this, and then some. Sometimes I wander what’s really going down at the Vatican, and suspect they’re smoking some heavy stuff given some of the recent bizarre decision-making. Synod is right up there. A waste of air.

  11. A LITTLE LOUDER FOR THOSE IN THE BACK!!!

    LOVE. THIS. Thank you for writing it.

    I’m not a huge fan of what I’ve seen from the synod, but I feel like I’m lacking context for much of what I’ve seen. I felt icky when I saw that video this morning. Even if those were idols that got tossed, I feel like there was a heck of a lot of posturing and showing off going on– I mean, talk about virtue signalling.

  12. (Standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai)
    “Guys, all I’m saying is, theft and vandalism are wrong, and we should really just pray about this, so leave the golden calf alone, ok?”

  13. A Canadian priest has some comments that he made in a video regarding the nude statues of fertility goddesses that had been placed in front of the altar at a Catholic church. An article about this matter and the priest’s video are here.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/priest-throwing-pachamama-idols-into-river-like-jesus-driving-money-changers-out-of-temple?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com&utm_campaign=71aee52bac-Daily%2520Headlines%2520-%2520U.S._COPY_615&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12387f0e3e-71aee52bac-401404845

    1. Actually, I would just add – there actually were 10 commandments that God gave to Moses, and the first is, “I am the Lord they God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” People do actually get to choose what god they want to serve and belong to, but for those who choose Jesus Christ and His father, we do not bow to pagan gods or goddesses. That is not Catholic. For 2,000 years, Christians have set aside other gods when they became Christian, putting their faith in Jesus Christ, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Before that, when the people of Israel entered into a covenant with God, it was quite clear that He required that they give up all their local gods and give him their all. Through history people of many cultures on every continent in every century for the past 2,000 years have chosen to live in relationship with Jesus Christ in preference to gods of wood and stone. I read an article in which an indigeneous Amazonian said he felt hurt that some clergy believe the Amazonians are so ignorant that it was necessary to water down the faith in various ways rather than catechizing them into the full life of faith – that many others have accepted from every tribe, every nation, every culture – many accept the Gospel with joy, but the Gospel has no place for nude, pagan fertility goddesses – that is not our faith as Catholics. If people think it is, then that seems to be evidence we are really not doing a good job with catechesis these days. Or that some of the men at the Vatican are no longer Catholic.

      1. Not to mention that the Protestant churches of various denominations – the strict ones, I mean – are cleaning up all over Latin America, attracting fallen-away or never-catechized Catholics by the score. I have not read much about why this is so, but I suspect it’s because they take such a strict approach to the driving out of demons, the worship of false idols, and maintaining a solid family life with no gambling, drinking, or adultery winked at by the clergy.

      1. LifeSiteNews is not racist. It might be somewhat insular at times in a purely cultural sense, but Western liberal Catholics are equally insular. They appear to be unable to grasp that sentimental pablum in religious practise does not have universal cross-cultural appeal.

  14. Thank you for being one of the few sane Catholic voices in social media, Simcha.

    I grow increasingly disheartened that the Church I grew up in is so splintered and devolving into vigilante mob mentality.

  15. I find this very interesting because again, we see a lack of understanding of our own church history, where time and time again, we have either accepted and ‘Christianized’ pagan or other religions’ rituals or symbols or we have thrown in our lot with colonizers and gravely sinned against entire peoples. There is enough division in the online ‘church’ to keep Wormwood happy for eons (read the Screwtape letters- how to make us ineffective as Believers? Divide from within) and if we fall for it, we do not stand for anything but division and hate. My students asked me today about heresies in the Early Church and how we know we are right. I told him Faith is not certainty and that in fact, certainty is the opposite of faith. Doubt is far closer to faith than the self righteous certainty of the arrogant. I simply do not know with any certainty but I believe based on my own personal journey of faith that has been a roller coaster of disappointment and joy in the humanity of the Church, my own sorrows and sad experiences of life buoyed up by the love of my in- Church and out-of-Church family and lots of quiet, prayer, learning, reading and staying still, trying to listen far more than I speak. I also will say that I do not think we even have a right to judge a Pope. I do not walk in his shoes, I have not lived his life and so just as I never said a bad word about Pope Benedict, I will not judge Pope Francis. It is not my job.

  16. People like ChurchMilitant and 1Peter5, etc. applaud this action. I do not. I spend a couple oof weeks this past August in Bolivia with both Jesuit missionaries and Maryknoll missionaries. We were explained what this whole ritual is about. When I saw it, I was a bit put off, but having it explained by the indigenous peoples who are Catholics who came out of paganism, it makes sense as an evangelism tool. Many of the pagan rituals were sanctified and “Christianized” and we don’t think twice about them today. Wedding Bands come to mind. We here in the West are so isolated from different cultures and we have this idea that our way of thinking is, of course, the best. We have become very prideful, when it comes to culture and how anybody who is different, is bad, wrong, or pagan. Wonder what St. Paul was thinking when he told the Greeks, “I see you have a statue to the Unknown god. What you worship in ignorance, I proclaim to you fully…” . He certainly did not go about trying to destroy the culture that was built up around him. He worked to change it while still maintaining the distinct cultural norms that were not against God’s Laws, for sure, just as every missionary effort has done throughout Church History.

  17. >If your goal is to defend the Church, then you really need to start with defending the ten commandments.

    And what is the first commandment? “I am The LORD your God… you shall have no other Gods before me”. It is very clearly a Pagan idol. It is not Our Lady or St. Elizabeth – neither are EVER portrayed in the nude. And even if it was, these would be blasphemous images and should be destroyed. If it’s a representation of “mother earth” or “life” again, that brings us back to pagan earth worship.

    Let me remind you, Christ drove out the money changers with a whip, destroying their property and probably causing some bodily harm. These statues, were an affront to God and they have met the end they deserve. Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat. Deo gratias!

      1. The bishop is the Pope (otherwise known as the Bishop of Rome) and he permitted this to occur in the Vatican in the first place…

        And you can’t even argue he doesn’t know – there’s still one of these demonic monstrosities in St. Peter’s Basilica.

        Besides, most of our bishops are spineless and will not take action for fear of offending someone. The laity must stand up for Christ and his Church because most members of the magisterium lack the courage to speak the truth.

          1. You realize how dumb this comment is right? We’re allowed to criticize the Pope and we are certainly noy committing heresy or seperating ourselves from Holy Mother Church in any way. The Pope is human – he is only infallible when speaking ex Cathedra (which he has not done much during his pontificate).

            There is nothing wrong with calling a sinner to repentance and if the Pope fails to take action, we as Catholics have the obligation to stand up for our faith.

              1. God only appointed me in so much as I know the Bible and what his punishments have been for carrying idols of false gods (which, again, are all demons). Each one of us by virtue of our Baptism is called to be a Priest, Prophet, and King so that we may serve God Most High. Other than that, I am nobody.

                Being a prophet does not mean foretelling the future – it means defending the faith and speaking the truth. It doesn’t take a genius or a special appointment to see that this idol’s presence before the Blessed Sacrament is an affront to God. And it certainly does not take that to call it out or take action.

                Frankly I find your condescension insulting and lacking in charity. However, I forgive you and will pray for you. Ave Maria!

                1. Thank you for your forgiveness and prayers. You are correct – my sarkiness isn’t helpful.

                  I do most seriously worry about the users who are sure what is right when the Pope has not said it was wrong. I think the modern Church is not helped by people being certain they are right. I think that things like this statue may be:

                  – not a great idea
                  – in poor taste
                  – silly 🙂

                  but I don’t think it is obvious from the Bible or the Church’s tradition that this statue is an idol of a false god. It seems likely that some well-meaning person thought it would be a good reminder that Our Lady is a human, and that whatever race she was of is not relevant. Nor do I think the nakedness of the statue is a problem, any more than the nakedness of some of Michelangelo’s statues is a problem.

                  But I do apologise for being snarky.

                2. Thank you! I appreciate your humility friend!

                  Again though, I find the “it’s an image of The Blessed Mother” argument to be lacking in evidence though. Nowhere, to my knowledge, in Catholic Tradition is Our Lady ever depicted naked. Depictions of her as other races and in the local art style are common of course (see Our Lady of Akito) but naked is a complete break from Catholic artistic tradition. Moreover, other than the fact she is pregnant, there is nothing to indicate the woman depicted is Our Lady. In almost every depiction of her or any saint, there is something to indicate who it is such as an article of clothing or the instrument of their salvation. With this statue, we see nothing that would indicate that it’s Our Lady. Could it plausibly be The Blessed Mother. Yes. But that would be like saying a painting of my mother or my sister is of the Blessed Mother – the artist may very well have intended it to be and used them as models, but without some defining features, you wouldn’t know.

                  On top of this, I believe there have been several Native American converts who have confirmed it’s an image of Pachamama. God bless!

    1. Why would portraying Mary in the nude be a problem? It isn’t traditional, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with nudity. God made our bodies, we are born nude, what’s the issue? Nudity is not the same thing as sexualization, and there’s nothing sexualized about the statue being discussed. Our Lady is holy and chosen clothed or naked. She’s the mother of Christ, and our mother too. Her body, likely naked or in very little clothing birthed our Lord, a beautiful event and a testament of faith and obedience. All of her is sacred and beautiful.

      1. The Pachamama theory is incorrect as she is a deity of the Andean Inca people who live in the mountains, these are Amazonian people who are baptized Catholics and I would think they are inclined to have those statues as icons configured to the one True God the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Mother and creation. What these zealots did today is purely criminal and sinful, also racist

        1. Yes. If it is an Amazonian goddess, that is no better than an Andean goddess, but the name Pachamama seems unlikely to be the correct name. I think many commenters (mostly elsewhere, not here) need a geography lesson.

        2. Oy, with the racism charges. Why is it that if some person, confused or not, does anything thing that is regarded as culturally insensitive ( hello, that could be just about anything these days) they are denounced as “racist”. Good grief. Everything isn’t racism. They believe it is an idol, rightly or wrongly. That is their issue.

      2. My earlier point was NOT about whether or not it was acceptable to portray Mary in the nude but rather, how the appearance of the statue was the appearance of a pagan (Incan) fertility goddess who is well known in that part of the world for many centuries AND – since Mary is a real person who has never before appeared publicly in the nude in any approved apparition – the nude Pachamama statue is not the Virgin Mary. Anyway, the Pope himself, when apologizing publicly for the theft of the statue(s) did not apologize that Our Lady of the Amazon had been dumped in the Tiber, but rather, referred to the statue(s) as “Pachamama,” which if you look up anywhere, is a fertility goddess. In the Old Testament, it was forbidden to go offer sacrifice to pagan gods or have images of pagan gods in one’s home etc. Pachamama is a pagan goddess. Our Lady of Guadelupe on the other hand, did appear with some symbols of the indigenous people, and she appeared fully clothed. Maybe Mary likes to wear clothing, particularly as a Virgin, when she appears publicly? For some reason, it’s not just the artists, but Mary herself always chooses to wear clothes. But – the Pope knows that Pachamama is not Mary, and not the Mother of God.

  18. I agree with you, especially about doing internal work, and the fact that it is not always wise or righteous to give way to the sweet temptations of righteous anger, even when one really is right.

    1. >righteous anger
      >temptations

      If your anger is just (see Exodus in this case), it is not temptation, it is likely the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Did Christ sin when he drove the money changers and merchants out of the temple? He destroyed property and likely caused bodily harm. And he was certainly extremely angry – he went through the effort of making his own whip after all.

      How about St. Michael? Certainly St. Michael caused Lucifer quite a bit of pain when he drove him from heaven with the battle cry “Who is like God?”.

      The same applies here. Demonic idols were placed on an altar in God’s presence and venerated like God. Who is like God? Certainly not this disgusting demon. Sáncte Míchael Archángele, ora pro nobis!

  19. Great post! This actually reminds me quite a bit about Catholicism here in Hawaii. We have legitimate pagans who worship the Hawaiian gods, yet there is a strong push of evangelization and inculturation to prevent dumb stuff like what has happened at the Synod.

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