The Associated Press reported that Pope Francis while speaking ex Cathedra (as the Bishop of Rome) insisted that the pagan statues of an Amazonian fertility goddess had been placed in a Vatican-area church “without any intention of idolatry,” in an attempt to deny claims of idolatry and syncretism that is taking place. On social media video surfaced of a Catholic vigilante casting the idols into the river.
The regrettable act is that wood floats so there is a small chance these idols can be recovered. A burning would have been more proper. Nonetheless, there are still those under the Catholic sphere that reject the paganism that is rampant in the Vatican.
If you are a Protestant, you probably need a rundown on the Pachamama and the Amazon Synod. Let’s first explain what Pachamama is. The Pachamama is a goddess likened to the phrase “Mother Nature” in precolonial South America. This fertility goddess is the South American equivalent to an Ashtaroth, and one who understands the Old Testament could see the parallels. However, once the Spaniards arrived bringing Catholicism, the image of the Pachamama “became” Mary, and the Mother of God would also have the Mother of Nature title to go with her in the region. So in short, the Pachamama idols are being regarded as Mary despite their pagan roots in the Inca Empire. This is an example of syncretism.
The Amazon Synod was a conference that sought to resolve many issues facing the Catholic Church in the Amazon. A few of the pressing concerns were the lack of ministers, specifically male recruits for both priestly and deacon ministries, and environmental concerns. The shortage of clergy was suspected by Catholics to be a Trojan horse to allow married men to preach. One Peter Five states:
To the question of whether it is possible that the ordination of married laymen will be permitted, the cardinal replied, “It is the synod that will say yes or no. But from what has been seen in the preparation up until now, it will be necessary to discuss this question of the need for ministers in the Church of the Amazon in a particular way. The discussion does not mean that it would be for the whole world, but for this situation of extreme necessity.”
It is not difficult to hypothesize that from one situation of extreme necessity in one continent or one particular region, it will then be possible to pass to a situation of extreme necessity or shortage elsewhere — no longer in the rainforest, but in the jungles of Western secularism. And, the interviewer asked, speaking of the possibility of a female priesthood or diaconate, will the same criteria also be applied to women? Hummes responded, “This is much more distant” — implying that, in contrast, a favorable decision for viri probati is much more probable, and closer.
Pope Francis asked forgiveness Friday from Amazonian bishops and tribal leaders after thieves stole indigenous statues from a Vatican-area church and tossed them into the Tiber River in a bold statement against the protest who would later be accused of racism. The Pope may have the local authorities going after the vigilantes, but he has no complaint before God on the matter, since he, while claiming the title Vicar of Christ, endorsed pagan idols being brought in his church.
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