During our perambulations on social media, we came across a papal critic that was sharing the video down below, stating it proved the controversial ceremony in the Vatican Gardens was a pagan ritual, since it invoked the goddess Nunkuli. Until yesterday, the claim was that it was Pachamama, but I suppose for them it’s all the same. Of course, if I said that the figure was of Aphrodite, just because Aphrodite was pagan and helped me further the narrative of the pagan ritual, anyone reasonable and with an understanding of Ancient Greece would say I was factually wrong. However, people who, one month ago, had probably never even heard the names of “Pachamama” and “Nunkuli” seem to be able to make these kinds of categorical affirmations.

In the meantime, the video is very interesting and merits to be seen in full. It was posted on Youtube by REPAM, one of the three organizers of the event hosted in the Vatican Gardens. It was also posted on the Advent of 2018. You can see the polemical statue on the 23 second mark.

The text is in Spanish. I made a translation, which I provide below. The original is in blue; the translation is in bold black; notes in italic black:


“Salve llena de gracia, el Señor es contigo”

Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you

.

“Soy la raíz de mis hijos, soy el canto de mis abuelas, el canto de la Nunkuli”

I am the root of my children, I am the song of my grandmothers, the song of (the) Nunkuli

Note: “song” can also be translated as “chant”

.

“Hija del Río, hermana del viento. Semilla, sustento”

Daughter of the River, sister of the wind. Seed, sustenance

Note: River is upper case: maybe refers to the Amazon River

.

“Soy vientre sagrado que siembra amor”

I am the sacred womb that sows love

.

“Canto de vida, soy territorio, canto de lucha”

Song of life, I am territory, song of struggle

.

“No temas María, porque has hallado gracia delante de Dios”

Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found grace before God

 

“y concebirás en tu seno y darás a luz un hijo a quien pondrás de nombre Jesús (Lucas 1, 26, 11)”

And you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, to whom you will give the name Jesus (Lk 1, 26, 11)

.

“Navidad en la Amazonia”

Christmas in the Amazon


This video from REPAM shows, once more, that they are referring to the Virgin Mary. This is consistent with the words of the native woman who presided over the ritual and with the clarification offered by one of the priests who organized it. As I said, the closer we get to the actual sources of the ceremony, the stronger the evidence is that this is Our Lady.

However, it is telling that the innumerous Marian references in this video are completely glossed over in favor of a short passing reference to Nunkuli, who most don’t even know or understand. It’s not even true that the video equates Mary with Nunkuli. Rather, it says that Mary is “the song of Nunkuli”. Is there a song of Nunkuli that can be said to be fulfilled in Mary? Is Nunkuli here being referenced as the goddess or as some symbolic reality signified by this name? I don’t know, and neither do they. But they will start from the uncharitable assumption that it is pagan because of this.

It’s ignoring the elephant in the room to get to the worm that scratches what their itchy ears want to hear. Most of the song is about Mary, something that they have denied from the get-go. But they will not concede that they were wrong. They will not admit that the natives view the image as Our Lady, even with the evidence staring them in the face. They will instead focus on a detail they can fashion into the next talking point. It’s all about spinning whatever they can get their hands on and then projecting that accusation unto the people who are seeing this for what it is.

In the meantime, I again reiterate: be careful with the conclusions you draw from cultural references you are not familiar with. Do not assume that there is something wrong with this without having compelling evidence to the contrary from unbiased sources that actually make reliable citations to support their case. If you don’t know Nunkuli, don’t assume you can form an informed opinion on it with a shallow Google search. You don’t have access to all the cultural nuances and meanings at play here. If you have to form your opinion, form it based on references that you are able to understand because they are shared with your culture as well. Like Mary, who is unequivocally present in the video above.

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102 Responses

  1. Rita Michele says:

    The video is beautiful! And yes, it clearly shows that the wooden statue from the tree planting ceremony is clearly meant to represent the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Amazon. I once read that not only is the Christian story a fulfillment of the Jewish faith, but it’s also a fulfillment of the pagan stories. In other words, they prepared the way for the fullness of Truth to be found in Catholicism. So many shrines to pagan goddesses are the sites of churches built right over them which are dedicated to Mary. When evangelizing a culture, Christian missionaries started with what the people knew. A prime example is the fact that the Irish Celts held the number 3 to be sacred, and that was a starting point for St. Patrick to teach them about the Trinity. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac, which was formerly a site of worship of the goddess Tonantzin. The people drew parallels between Tonantzin and Our Lady, a completely reasonable thing to do. But they learned from Mary that her Son is the one true God. The Ninkuli could certainly represent something that in Mary is the fully revealed Truth. This can be understood as inculturation rather than an example of syncretism. But some folks will not let go of the paganism narrative that has been spun. Thank you once again for your fine work in setting the record straight, Pedro!

  2. Clayton says:

    Well, this just further proves that the Vatican spokespersons don’t have a clue what is going on, or else that they are as fond of obfuscating the facts as the Pope. When Austen Ivereigh asked at a press conference about the meaning of the statue, Bishop David Guinea said: “there is no need to make a connection with the Virgin Mary or with a pagan element.” What is so wrong with providing direct, clear answers, including “I don’t know what’s going on”? That would be preferable to all the evasive CYA behavior. Not that the faithful are at all allergic to CYA behavior… as it is in no way reminiscent of the default behavior of bishops when confronted with claims of sexual abuse by clerics.

    So could someone in an official capacity please clarify what the statue DOES mean, and what the ritual meant, or will the Vatican prefer once again to leave everyone in the lurch, thus leading to do-it-yourself hermeneutics… and then the Vatican will blame everyone else for misinterpreting the event, when no one has provided an alternate narrative. Why are communication SNAFUs always blamed on the observers?

    More generally, why can the Vatican never be proactive in its communications? I mean, presumably SOMEONE knew what the event would include BEFORE it took place, and what the intended meaning was. It would have been common courtesy to provide this gloss to the press and to other observers in advance.

    But that’s asking too much, apparently.

    • Bj Perrare says:

      It’s very simple the Vatican spokesperson did not want to sound like he knows nothing, so he just made his personal remarks. It’s best to refrain from making judgments especially if you don’t know the culture and the people who are representing it

    • jong says:

      Clayton
      Allow me to share my thoughts why, but first I want to thank Pedro G. this phrase makes me laugh “It’s ignoring the elephant in the room to get to the worm that scratches what their itchy ears want to hear.” The Rad Trads channels really are always looking for the “worm” as the “old serpent” came to my mind when Pope Francis said that the first “Fake News” was uttered by the serpent back in the garden of eden.

      “More generally, why can the Vatican never be proactive in its communications? ” I agree with your sentiment, but it’s best to look at it at the lenses of Pope Francis why would he not strictly and clearly instructed the Vatican Press Office to remind them that all wolves & the packed of wild dogs or the church critics & enemies are always on the look out for the “worm” in every Vatican event and Church Mission to spin and undermine it.
      Why would it seems to appear that Pope Francis is somehow allowing the Church critics & enemies to have a field day of spreading Fake News, twisting and spinning even distorting every words to attack the Church Magisterium? If I am the Pope, I can easily impose Canon Law and excommunicate all this heretics & schismatics as their numbers seems to be growing after Ab.Vigano published his proven false accusatory testimony, and the written articles, interviews and videos, books, etc.. are a solid evidence to excommunicate all of them, although by virtue of Canon1364 all this Rad Trads already incurs “automatic excommunication”., they are already outside the Church and St.Ignatius of Antioch(100 AD) said they are all going to the fire of hell if they do not repent. Read also Romans13:1-2

      But really, why would Pope Francis seems to be hesitant to impose “excommunication”? The answer lies in CCC675, the Church must not fight heretics using the “Sword of the Church which is Canon Law” but the Vatican II Church was inspired by the Holy Spirit to use the “Divine Mercy” as medicine to all the lost and wounded souls and yes, even to the schismatics, heretics and apostate. And CCC675 to CCC677 is the destiny of the Church or its own “Via Crucis”, like Jesus the Church must embrace all the persecutions, passions, crucifixion and even death for it’s glorious resurrection.
      If Pope Francis would impose “excommunication” that would give the Rad Trads the needed “weapon or justification” to launch a “grand revolt” esp. if Pope Francis would excommunicate even one among this vocal critics like Cardinal Burke, Ab.Vigano. Cardinal Muller, Bishop Schneider, etc. So, Pope Francis having a great wisdom would not fall into the Rad Trads traps as they continue their “open resistance” to invite Pope Francis to punish them. Sorry for them it won’t work, the expanded Petrine Ministry is so powerful when it comes to “spiritual warfare” all the enemies plots are laid bare in the eyes of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus BXVI is restraining every evil plot of the wolves and the packed of wild dogs.

      • Clayton says:

        So communicators are not responsible for what they say or fail to say, for what they do or fail to do? All the blame lies at the feet of those receiving the communication?

        I’m fascinated by the apologists for Francis who seem happy to believe that the Pope has only rights, and not responsibilities. That is not the teaching of Vatican II.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Your criticism of the unpreparedness of the Vatican spokespeople is fair, but this is not new. From my study of Church history, this institutional clumsiness has been a part of the Church for centuries (and, in my opinion, is a proof that the Holy Spirit, and not human ingenuity, is what keeps the Church running)

        That being said, it is also understandable that the Vatican spokespeople are not aware of this controversy, because they are probably focused (and think that people are likewise focused, and probably prepare their answers accordingly) with things more directly connected with the Synod and not these kinds of social media polemics that for them seem unimportant.

        Having said that, the people who are forming opinions based on biased sources and subscribing to the idea that the Vatican hosted a pagan ritual (an idea so outlandish that it should demand a very high burden of proof), are not without blame. The Vatican spokespeople obviously don’t know much and referred us to the organizers. The organizers seem to think that the figure is Our Lady. We have no conclusive proof that the statue is being used in an incorrect way. So why keep hammering at this?

    • Roberto B. Guzman III says:

      I also think that there was a failure in communication. The event at Vatican garden was not understood by those who were able to watch it. Some say this was not as important as the Synod itself but why would the organizers invite indigenous people to the tree planting if they do not have a message to impart on the viewers? Communication entails preparation and great effort on the part of the communicators otherwise communication ends up in a disaster. When you communicate you must also learn how to listen, not all who ask questions are enemies. I believe in the Catholic Church but belief does not mean I loose my desire to understand what she teaches. When confronted with options I make judgment based on my understanding of what is right or wrong. That is why communication is important because we base our decisions on how we understand the message.

  3. AveMaria says:

    Quite funny how the same of angry dissenters judged the veneration of Our Lady of Guadeloupe by the natives with the exact same silly and slanderous accusations: https://books.google.com/books?id=JmRvPmO6hKcC&pg=PA189

  4. Kathleen Cain says:

    Thanks for your excellent post, Pedro. It prompted me to search online for “Maori Madonna” to check out how our Tangata whenua here in New Zealand had represented Our Lady in the early days of European missionary activity. I’m unable to reproduce the images here, but I hope you have a look at the words below and then online at the powerful figures – which I have just discovered thanks to your post. I love them as would many Kiwis, but no doubt there are those among the Catholic community here who would hyperventilate and reach for their smelling salts at the sight of these treasures. How wonderful and weird we humans are.

    ‘Māori depictions of the Madonna and Child
    The Madonna and Child—Virgin Mary holding her infant son, Jesus—is a subject as old as the second-century Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. The Byzantine Church, for whom this subject held central importance, developed a standardized iconography for it, and it rose to popularity in the West in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when the cult of the Virgin took root there.

    Wherever Christianity travels and is received, the host culture tends to adapt the church’s iconography to its own context. The Māori—the indigenous people of New Zealand—are no exception.

    Wood carvings by indigenous artists

    Unfortunately, missionaries didn’t always approve of indigenous visual expressions of the gospel. Such was the case with two nineteenth-century Madonna and Child figurines, carved by new Māori converts to the faith and presented to, but rejected by, the local parish priests for chapel use.

    The earlier of these two tekoteko (carved figures) was made around 1845, seven years after the first Roman Catholic mission was established in New Zealand. The artist has indicated Mary’s spiritual status by giving her a full-face moko (tattoo)—a distinction typically reserved for men. This likens her to an ariki tapairu, the firstborn female in a Māori family of rank, who was invested with sacred attributes and given the respect due to a princess or queen.

    As is traditional in Māori carving, the eyes are made of pāua (abalone) shell.

    Maori Madonna and Child
    Pataromu Tamatea (disputed), Madonna and Child, ca. 1845. Auckland Museum, New Zealand. For a close-up, see Flickr user Nick Thompson’s photo.

    Maori Madonna and Child
    Madonna and Child, ca. 1890. Te Papa museum, Wellington, New Zealand.

    The other tekoteko was carved around 1890. It too shows Mary with a full-face moko, but unlike its predecessor, the bodies of the figures are smooth, and they stand on a grotesque head with a protruding tongue.

    Because such objects were unfamiliar to the European settlers, they tended to denigrate them as primitive and idolatrous. Out of concern for how the pakeha (non-Māori) in the parish would react to the Christianized tekoteko, the priests reluctantly declined the gifts. [1]

    However, both tekoteko have ended up in New Zealand museums for a wider audience to enjoy, and the 1845 one was even featured prominently in the ceremony to welcome Pope John Paul II to the country in 1986.

    • M. says:

      Kathleen, thank you for sharing, fascinating. My kids picked up early on, the similarities in mythology to the true story of the Gospels. To them it always seemed natural and cool, that the same story seems has been told over and over in culture after culture, until it finally came to fruition in the Christ, so fascinating. Man has always longed for God.

  5. Marie says:

    Kathleen- This is beautiful, thank you, and thank you Pedro for your articles and voice of reason against, yet again, negative, uncharitable and accusatory attacks on our Pope and fellow Catholic brothers and sisters.

  6. David says:

    Pedro, I’m grateful for your thorough digging on all of this. Thank you!

  7. Mireille says:

    I love everything you write. I am an obediant traditional Catholic. I Love my Pope Francis and i will deffend the chair of Peter and the Church as long as I live. I am trying with Catholics here in my country Lebanon – Middle East to show them the Truth but it seems i am the only one talking. You inspired me. GOD BLESS YOU

    • Christopher Lake says:

      Mireille,

      It was a joy and an encouragement for me to read your comment! Thank you for defending the Pope and the Church among your fellow Catholics in Lebanon. Please know that you are not alone. I am trying to do the same in the U.S.A. among my Catholic friends who are either skeptical of, or opposed to, Pope Francis. It can be challenging and lonely at times, but when I read comments such as yours, I feel less alone. I am praying for you. GOD BLESS YOU!

  8. Sean says:

    Reminds me of “Hanacpachap cussicuinin,” the earliest piece of vocal polyphony from the New World. It was composed by a friar in the Quechua language, and praises the Virgin Mary with the terminology used religious language carried over from their former practice.

    Heck, “the Sibyl” is mentioned in the Dies Irae, the sequence at funeral masses in the EF, which represents her so-called “prophecies” as *true*!!

    • Jude says:

      The sibyl’s prophecies came from demons…

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        And yet, there are images of sybils in many of our churches, including the Sistine Chapel

      • Jude says:

        And yet their prophecy came from demons.
        Are you saying that that’s not the case, or that it is, but it is somehow praise worthy because they may have been correct about some things and they’re on the walls of the sistine chapel?

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I’m saying that the fact that they got some things right and that they are in the Sistine chapel might not make it praiseworthy, but it also makes the “it was demons” explanation less plausible. Maybe you should try to understand why the Popes that commissioned the Sistine chapel did not see anything wrong with it, before jumping to (demonic) conclusions

      • Sean says:

        My point is: here are troubling, pagan religious figures making an appearance in an unquestionably traditional Catholic hymn, because they were thought, somehow, to have pointed to Christian truth.

        I know nothing about Nunkuli, but the usage could be analogous.

  9. So, at best it’s a hymn to Mary. At worst we should condemn it, based on one word, as pagan in the same way we condemn the Bible as pagan for comparing Jesus to the winged sun god (Malachi 4:2).

    What I see going on is a group of people shouting “Pagan!” at something they don’t understand. It’s different, therefore it’s pagan. Very reminiscent of anti-Catholic groups calling Catholics pagans. But now the Catholics are calling Catholics pagans, because they don’t understand.

    • BJ Perrarre says:

      I had a Twitter exchange with some Rad Trads on this issue that anything that is different from their western understanding of faith is pagan. I showed them a dance from South India that’s performed by the ancient Syriac Catholic Christians that incorporates facets of the Indian culture, but the song they dance to is very christian and tells the story of St. Thomas coming to India. These guys saw it and immediately condemned it as pagan as well. This dance has been a part of Syriac Christian culture in India for 1800 years…. just shows how ignorant they are if cultures within the Catholic Church. Here’s the link to the dance https://youtu.be/vGJzCqie3VE

      • That’s horrific. I’ve been getting angrier all day. That tops it off. I can’t stomach this. I’m glad there are people out there like WPI who can keep going.

      • carn says:

        Would you mind linking the tweets?

        I am also a bit at loss, what should be problematic about the dance.

        The dance arround and semi-kneel before something, which seems to be a cross. That is a huge plus compared to dancing around and bowing to something which one first glance one could mistake for a statue of a pagan goddess.

      • @carn – normal Latin rite Westernised Catholics could, at first glance, be mistaken for worshipping statues of a pagan goddess. In fact that’s one of the big things anti-Catholics claim about us. Doesn’t mean it’s true.

  10. L Daily says:

    No mystery in this response. Racism leads to distorted perceptions. Sin always distorts.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      While obviously some people will form their opinions on this matter based on a Western-centric and white supremacist perspective, I think the main driver here is the desire to pin any kind of heterodoxy on the Pope, in order to validate a narrative that justifies dissent in certain ideologically charged areas. Yes, they are throwing brown people under the bus, and banking on their ignorance of outside cultures… but they would do the same to anyone, regardless of race, to achieve that aim.

      • The rate at which the anti-Amazonian-Catholic rhetoric is increasing leaves me alarmed. Is this the trigger for a real schism?

      • L Daily says:

        My sense is that much of the opposition to Pope Francis is rooted in racial and cultural superiority, and especially a reaction to his strong statements on the treatment of immigrants and refugees, environmental and economic justice, and the development of Catholic teaching on the death penalty – all of which impact black and brown people most significantly.

        Why Our Lady of the Amazon scandalizes but the Infant of Prague doesn’t seem to me a mystery.

      • @L Daily – what is it about the Infant of Prague that could scandalise? Maybe it’s western enough that I can’t see it.

      • L Daily says:

        Stephen, The Infant of Prague – crowned and adorned in jewels and fur – is a cultural depiction of the baby Jesus. Our Lady of the Amazon is a cultural depiction of the Blessed Mother. Why is one considered scandalous and the other is not? Personally, I find an opulent Christ Child more offensive than a naked Virgin Mary.

      • @L Daily – I see your point. Cultural representation vs cultural representation. I can see how the Amazonian representation can be seen as pagan, even if I don’t believe it is. I can’t see the same in the Infant of Prague because it’s close enough to my own culture that I see it as normal.

      • Kevin says:

        Christ be with you
        Yeah everyone who just wants to know the truth is a white supremist.
        How racist is that?
        and what absolute rubbish.

        Who is Nunkuli?
        Is the Statue of her?
        Why does it look like the Idols we have seen of Pachamama?
        Why when the site you give claims is our Lady of the Amazon does it not look at all like the statue shown on the web site.
        Why does even today the Vatican spokesperson tell is this a represent life and fertility which is the very definition of an idol?

        God bless you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I have never said that everyone who disagrees is a white supremacist. But I have already banned a person for implying I am racist. And your constant repetition of questions that have been answered in my articles is getting tiresome.

        You’re threading on very thin ice. Watch out for your next comments, for they will determine whether I have the patience to approve them.

        God bless you too

      • Kev says:

        Christ be with you
        you said that it is a Western-centric and white supremacist perspective.
        you do not provide any information why?
        You suggest that they are throwing brown people under a bus

        My aim is to bring people to Christ but you seem to suggest it is something else.
        Ban me if you must

        you never answered
        Why does even today the Vatican spokesperson tell is this a represent life and fertility which is the very definition of an idol?

        God bless you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        No, I didn’t say that. But thank you for proving my point that you are either intellectually dishonest or can’t read

        “Ban me if you must”

        Alright then

  11. Tracy Michelle Hargett says:

    Okay so how did the people in the Amazon find out about Mary? Did she appear to them or did missionaries tell them about her?

  12. Joshua Hernandez says:

    I don’t understand what is happening. I don’t understand Our Holy Father. I just want answers. I just want clarity. Please, I just want to understand what is going on. Please, Holy Father why don’t you answer the dubia? I read Amoris Leatitia and am a faithful Catholic who is trying to understand how the relevant passages and footnotes don’t amount to grave error contradicting scared scripture and irreformable Church doctrine. I know you like to reach out and meet with people. Sinners who need the light of truth. People who often disdain and reject Holy Mother Church’s teachings but who nevertheless need the love and truth of Christ. Apostates like U2’s Bono. Priests who condone mortally sinful lifestyles and behaviors like James Martin. Abortionists and population control advocates, gender ideology promoters, communists, marxists, dictators etc. Why then won’t you also meet with any of the dubia cardinals? They have been waiting for years just to talk to you. Two of them have literally died waiting. I don’t understand this. I know there must be a reason! Please, dispel our confusion. Calm are fears and doubts. Please, unite this fracturing Church.

    Why are there prelates chosen by you to lead the amazon synod who are promoting outright heresies like women’s ordination? Why are we being told that irreformable Church teaching coming directly from sacred scripture in both the old and new testaments and from every pope, saint, father and doctor of the Church is now being changed to mean the opposite of what it has always meant with regards to the death penalty? How can this be? How is this possible? I need to understand. I want to be a good and faithful Catholic. Please. Why are we being told that you have signed a document which claims that God actively wills false and blasphemous religions? Is everything in the world fake news? Please, I need to understand. Where is the real news? How do I find the truth of what is happening? How do I do it? Someone, help.

    Why do you continue, as is reported, to give interviews to Journalists who persistently quote you as proclaiming outright heresies? That there is no hell, that “Jesus isn’t God” (forgive the blasphemy! I didn’t even want to type it!) etc. Why do you not ever decry these wicked actions and reaffirm the truths of the gospel for all the world to hear? For us your faithful sons and daughters to hear? Why do you remain silent? Why do you ignore the agonized cry of your suffering children? What exactly happened at the Vatican gardens on October 4th in what to many concerned and confused Catholics appeared to be blatant paganism and idol worship? Why do you call those of us in love with our Church’s traditions names and accuse us of being mentally ill? Is it really you saying these things?? I don’t understand what is going on anymore. Please, what is happening?? I just want to understand. What am I doing wrong? I want to be a good Catholic. I want to be a faithful and loyal son. Please…

    • Marie says:

      Joshua,

      I hear your pain and it saddens me greatly. The best thing I would recommend to you is to ‘detox’ from where you are getting your information. If you are reading and following Lifesite news, Taylor Marshall, Church Militant, etc. I’m pleading with you to take a complete break from it all, for at least a month, and only read directly from Pope Francis’s writings and perhaps the articles from Where Peter Is (without the comments for a while) Only read positive. Only positive thoughts!

      As it is now, you are being spoon fed a steady dose of anti Francis. Even if any of it were true, the constant negativity is not good. It is harmful to anyone. Just take a break from the negative opinions (it won’t be easy for you, but you must try your best) I know, with certainty, you will have a completely different perspective if you do. If you are American, I suggest you do the same concerning watching the news. Give the polarized politics a rest. You will see things in a whole different light . Your heart is in the right place. That is half the battle. You will see. 🙂

      • Kevin says:

        Christ be with you
        I sorry but we should all be watching those Channels.
        We must not put our head in the sand and ignore the issues in the Church.
        The Church numbers are declining, Faith is disappearing.
        It is not about politics it is about Truth.
        The Church needs to be strengthen and continuing on our current path is faling badly.
        Come Back to Christ being Catholic is a call to action a call to save souls,
        God bless you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Watching those channels is to put the head in the sand. It is to trade the reality of the world for the comfort of a propaganda that places you as a kind of savior of the Church, when you are in fact helping undermine it

      • Faith says:

        This is a good answer, Marie. Sadly these sites you mention are akin to an addiction for some people. I just got back from visiting an elderly relative. She was raised in a very pious household amd stopped going to Mass a year ago since someone directed her to these websites. She is now convinced that the HF is a satan worshipper, and that Pope Benedict was/ is a Nazi. It was incredibly sad and these people in charge of these sites will have much to answer for… Lord have mercy on them.

      • Rita Michele says:

        Marie, I totally agree. And what Faith said is heartbreaking. I commented on Taylor Marshall’s YouTube that I’m done with his channel, and he should be ashamed. The same goes for the hysterics of Michael Voris, and Patrick Coffin, Lifesite, even EWTN–I’m no longer following any of them. I watch Bishop Barron occasionally and keep up with the articles here, and that’s it. I am so done. It’s all so toxic and harmful to my faith. My husband quit following any news since Trump was elected, and he has no interest in following the Church scandals. We are happy with our local parishes. My husband is a lector, our daughter is an altar server, and I joined the Rosary Altar Society. We are serving the Church best by being active at the local level, and by giving our daughter a Catholic, homeschooling education. I also blog a few times a month at Organic Mothering. Thanks for your wise advice, Marie!

      • BJ says:

        Hi Rita, Marie and others, it’s great to stop watching those toxic programs that parade around as defenders of the Catholic faith. They will be held accountable for thdd Ed damage they are doing in the church. I am happy to report that there are good people still on Catholic media who do not get entangled in controversy and focus on the faith. For TV channels, I have been watching Shalom World Catholic TV, great Catholic programming in English from all over the Catholic world, very balanced alternative to EWTN. The people running it are very prayerful and dedicated to Eucharistic adoration, have affiliation with Franciscan Univ, Bp. Barron etc., Above all they love Pope Francis. It’s time we break from EWTN and I’d sad to say this as I was a big consumer of their content.

  13. Joshua Hernandez says:

    Marie,

    Thank you for your concern and for your kindness. I have read Francis’ own words. I have seen his actions, or, rather, his lack thereof. I want answers. The pope is not infallible in everything he says and does. If his statements in Amoris and the Abu Dhabi document as well his changes to the catechism on the death penalty are not erroneous and contrary to infallible Church doctrine then I want him to explain to me how that is so that I can square his teachings with scripture, tradition and the perennial magisterium. In the mean time he is by his silence ipso facto forcing me to choose between adherence to one pope’s novel teachings over and against every pope in the history of the Church prior to him. I cannot comply. I remain ever his humble and loyal subject but I will not betray the constant and irreformable teachings of Holy Mother Church. These are not up for grabs. I will not go against all of the previous Roman Pontiffs, all of the doctors, fathers and saints. I cannot. I will not. And I must not if I am to remain Catholic.

    To go along with him on these points would, in reality, be to betray him who’s very duty it is to defend and preserve Christ’s truth. We do the Holy Father no favors in assisting him in the dereliction of his duty. We must pray very much for the Church and for the Holy Father in these dark and turbulent times of confusion. I cannot be dishonest with myself or with others about what is happening. The confusion is real. The darkness is real. To fight for truth and orthodoxy is to fight for the pope, even if the current pontiff mistakenly perceives this as an affront to his office. In doing this we stand truly with Peter and all of his successor, including Francis. I see no other way. God help us all. In the end Her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Long live the Papal Monarchy and long live Christ the King!

    • Marie says:

      Do you believe that those who are able to make a connection between past and present papal teachings are wrong? If they have been able to see that the changes to the catechism on the death penalty are not erroneous, without demanding ‘he explain to me how that is so that I can square his teachings with scripture, tradition and the perennial magisterium’, why can’t you? Could it be that ‘they’ are always open to the idea that as teachings develop, they may well happen upon one they don’t fully understand, but are faithfully ready to embrace it, first and foremost, while they work it out? Their assumption is never that the teaching is not correct, the pope has therefore erred. Their assumption is this is Christ’s desire, I need to understand this (if I don’t).

      When you take the position that this makes no sense therefore it is wrong, even though Christ has promised us otherwise, you have lost the battle, for your starting point is yourself (your intellect), and it needs to be faith ( Christ’s promise of Peter and the protection of the Church). There will never be a betrayal to the Holy Mother Church by following the teachings of a pope concerning faith and morals. Never, ever ever. Betrayal will only happen when we turn away from Christ’s gift of Peter, and go it on our own, confident in our own ability to determine what Christ wants and demands of us. Christ never asked us to be papal watchdogs. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. To reject the Pope is to also reject the Holy Spirit for you are conceding the Holy Spirit failed to protect the Church from papal error.

      Remove that IV feed of poison from those holier than thou ‘Catholic’ sites, and give it a fresh start. Peace 🙂

      • BJ says:

        Marie well said. I have always struggled with trusting God on this till I started reading scripture and meditating on Christ’s words. He clearly promises that He will not let the gates of Hell prevail over His Church and when He made that promise to Peter, our first Pope, it transmits all the way to our Pope Francis the successor of Peter. Another thing, the Petrine Office also comes with extra charisms to lead the church, none of these papal detractors can claim to have that charism, they either do not know scripture or they don’t believe in God’s sovereignty to fulfill His promises.

      • Joshua Hernandez says:

        Marie and BJ,

        Doctrine may develop, yes, but it cannot change. Vatican I infallibly teaches us that “that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, …but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.”

        The pope is only infallible under certain very specific conditions. Not one of the teachings or utterances of pope Francis can be said to have fallen into this category. By absolute logical necessity, as well as by our humbly submitting our intellects to the teaching of Holy Mother Church, this means that the pope is fallible and may have erred in any one of the examples I mentioned.

        Yes, the gates of hell will absolutely never prevail against the Church, but the Church is not the mystical body of the pope, she is the mystical body of Christ. In the past popes have failed. St. Peter failed to uphold the truth about the passing of the old law for fear of the Jews and so was justly and publicly rebuked by St. Paul. Pope Honorius was solemnly condemned by the Third Council of Constantinople and then later anathematized by his successor Pope Leo II for betraying the Faith and being complicit in the propagation of heresy. Pope Paschal II was denounced for holding a heretical position by St. Bruno (yes, a saint) whom the pope then persecuted for doing so, only to later repent and renounce his position. Pope John XXII was publicly censured by the bishops and theologians of his time for teaching error regarding the beatific vision of the saints. He responded by imprisoning many of these bishops and theologians only to then later repent and recant his errors on his deathbed.

        The list goes on. Resistance to the particular actions of a pope is not resistance to the papacy itself, and may at times not only be just but even necessary for the very love of the pope and the Church. Even so, these flawed and sinful men I just mentioned remained true vicars of Christ who the faithful were obligated to be subject to in all things, save error and sin, and who without their submission to they could not save their souls.

        I think we have to start taking into serious consideration the fact that despite what we may want to believe about Francis he may just be one of those bad popes which the Church every so often in her history has been made to endure. If you’ve ever wondered what it must have been like to live under one of the infamous pontificates of history like that of John XXII, or John XII, or Benedict IX, or Stephen VI, or Alexander VI etc., well, you may no longer have to wonder anymore.

      • BJ says:

        Josh, you are again failing to understand that there may have been bad popes but they did not change any of the doctrines of the Catholic faith, this is because of the power of God working through the Holy Spirit. I read what those popes were condemned for, it was for additional teachings which pretty much had no impact on Catholic doctrine. The Church still does things like that for additional stuff like a miracle, apparition, vision of a saint etc.. in fact the church now has more data to say that some of the prophecies from La Salette is not from God. When you compare Pope Francis with the infamous Popes you listed, it is laughable because Pope Francis in fact is a very prayerful man and is sincerely trying to proclaim the gospel truths of Jesus Christ to All the world, not just Christians. I am delighted to live under his papacy in today’s world.

      • Joshua Hernandez says:

        BJ,

        I admire your sentiments because I understand where you’re coming from. You said, ” you are again failing to understand that there may have been bad popes but they did not change any of the doctrines of the Catholic faith, this is because of the power of God working through the Holy Spirit”. I agree with you here. No pope could ever alter or change official Church teaching. The doctrine of the Church is pure and forever will be. However, popes can err in there teaching of Catholic truths whenever they are not invoking the conditions necessary for infallibility (which is the vast majority of the time and actually all of the time for most popes). To deny this simple fact is to deny the First Vatican Council which infallibly defined for us the limits of papal infallibility.

        You are incorrect to say that some of the popes I mentioned only erred in prudential judgements with regards to matters that did not touch on doctrine. This is not so. Please, re-read the examples I gave. All of them concern Pontiffs who erred on matters of Church doctrine. John XXII was apposed precisely for his error concerning the Church’s doctrine on the beatific vision (he was preaching in his sermons that the saints do not and cannot attain the beatific vision until after the final judgement at the end of time. In other words, he was saying that saints don’t really make it to heaven, which is primarily characterized by the beatific vision, until the end of time). Pope paschal II was denounced by St. Bruno for holding a heretical position concerning the Church’s doctrine on episcopal investiture. St. Bruno even went so far as to say that anyone who upheld the popes decision on this matter would become a heretic. Pope Honorius was solemnly condemned as a heretic by an ecumenical council of the Church and later anathematized by a succeeding Pope etc. What you are saying about popes never having failed in any capacity with regards to their teaching on faith and morals just simply isn’t true. I think a more balanced and sober approach is what faithful Catholics are called to. Our primary loyalty and love must be that of the truth. Because, as we know, the truth is Jesus Christ. Our love, loyalty and obedience to His vicar is second to and subordinated to Him. We must keep this order right or all is folly. Especially in these times of massive doctrinal confusion and lack of clarity.

        To quote Melcior Cano, an eminant theologian at the Council of Trent:

        “Now one can say briefly what [those do] who temerariously and without discrimination defend the supreme pontiff’s judgment concerning everything whatsoever: these people unsteady the authority of the Apostolic See rather than fostering it; they overturn it rather than shoring it up. For – passing over what was explained a little before in his chapter – what profit does he gain in arguing against heretics whom they perceive as defending papal authority not with judgment but with emotion, nor as doing so in order to draw forth light and truth by the force of his argument but in order to convert another to his own thought and will? Peter does not need our lie; he does not need our adulation.”

        You said, “Pope Francis in fact is a very prayerful man and is sincerely trying to proclaim the gospel truths of Jesus Christ”. Then why does he continuously surround himself with, as well as promote, notoriously disreputable men who on top of holding heretical positions like the ordination of women among other things also have been exposed as workers of wicked deeds? How could you justify making a man like the late Cardinal Daneels one of your closest advisors and confidants? A man who admitted to illegally plotting to manipulate the last conclave, who approved of same sex marriage, advised the king of Belgium to legalize abortion, refused to remove pornographic material being used in Catholic schools and who among other things told a sexual abuse victim that he should keep quiet and that he should instead acknowledge his own guilt and himself ask for forgiveness? Or an utterly vile and wicked man like the disgraced cardinal McCarrick who’s reputation everyone was well aware of? How could a truly good, humble and prayerful man continuously invite disseminators of evil ideologies to give talks at the Vatican? Infamous and outspoken pro-abortion, population control and lgbt advocates who are openly and unequivocally avowed secularists with deep pockets and an anti-Catholic agendas to push? And all of this while refusing to give the time of day to his brother cardinals asking for clarification on the doctrinal confusion ravaging the Church?

        To respond to something that Marie wrote to me in an earlier post, I don’t care if it’s negative, positive or neutral, I just want the truth. What form that takes or how it makes me feel is irrelevant. I, along with countless others, am not crazy or delusional. I am seeing what I see with my very own eyes and I am responding, as I must, in true charity which is the love of the truth. This is not the time for cowards. This is not the time to care what others may think of you. We must love Christ and His vicar with enough zeal to be willing to suffer the blows of disappointment and humiliation. With enough zeal to be labeled enemies of the very ones whom we love and fight for. Francis needs our prayers right now, not our flattery. If we truly love the pope we can’t be complicit in his wrongdoing. We must speak up in charity and in truth. By doing so we will be rendering to him the greatest service possible as his loyal son and daughters.

      • Kevin says:

        Christ be with you
        The problem is not as much with what the pope says but with what he doesn’t say.
        He leaves the Church he is meant to be shepherding, in confusion.
        He remains silent when he should speak, He is meant to feed Christs sheep.

        No everyone connect the dots between the past teachings and present, many seem to ignore the past teachings completely.
        If the Pope doesn’t tell us how we should do this who should we turn to
        God bless you

  14. L Daily says:

    Did you read the section about the Jesuit missionaries in Brazil? Or google it yourself, the information is easy to find.

  15. Rita Michele says:

    The big news today, 10/21, is that several statues of Our Lady of the Amazon were stolen from the church in Rome and thrown into the river. Taylor Marshall is of course celebrating this theft. I’m saddened and disgusted and hope the thieves are brought to justice. I also hope Pedro will look into this and report on it. EWTN is still maintaining that they don’t know what these statues are, and that they may be pagan idols. Our Lady of the Amazon, Mother of the New Creation, pray for us!

    • BJ says:

      Michelle, I agree. It’s a very distasteful and scandalous thing to do. I saw Taylor Marshall’s alert come in unusually early this morning around 5 am, and saw him rejoicing over this incident. Made me think what gospel is he preaching or has learned? It’s definitely not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never once have I read in the gospels that Jesus goes to break statues and idols of pagan religions. He did chastise the Pharisees and the Jews, mostly because they were hypocrites and were not following God who they portrayed themselves as following.

    • Kevin says:

      Christ be with you
      Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree:
      Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. (Due 12:2-3)

      Who is Nunkuli?
      Is the Statue of her?
      Why does it look like the Idols we have seen of Pachamama?
      Why when the site you give claims is our Lady of the Amazon does it not look at all like the statue shown on the web site.
      Why does even today the Vatican spokesperson tell is this a represent life and fertility which is the very definition of an idol?

      In the Catholic Church is is God who is the life-giver he is the creator.
      My understanding Our Lady is not mother of Creation but mother of the Creator Jesus Christ and through him Queen of Creation.
      it is always important not to confuse the created with the creator.
      God bless you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        All of your questions have been answered on my articles. If you want to read it, I can link to them. But if you just want to keep believing what you believe, then there is no point

      • Kev says:

        hey Petro
        Our Lord be with you
        I read your articles and did not find the answer to those questions.
        By all means, direct me to them
        God bless you

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        If you read my articles, which specifically address each one of your points, clearly and concisely, and then come and tell me that your questions were not answered, I am left to conclude that you either are intellectually dishonest, or can’t read, or both.

        Whether you are intellectually dishonest, or you can’t read, the fact is that it will be a waste of time answering you

        Please move on to somewhere else. God bless you too

      • BJ says:

        Kevin, you are stuck in the Old Testament covenant laws. Jesus Christ came and established the New Covenant laws he preached on the Mount of Olives. Meditate on those laws, Jesus never went around smashing the pagan statues and temples that existed during his time, he was hard on the Pharisees who were hard headed hypocrites. Pope Francis is focusing on the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the Old Testament prophets

      • Mary Angelica says:

        Im agnostic on n what the statue is, but to directly answer your questions:

        1. Nunkuli is the name of a goddess in quechua. Most likely, she is the goddess of soil, agriculture. And pottery (the only source I could find that wasn’t simply a dictionary entry was a spanish document about environmental activism in the amazon referring to a similar sounding Nunguli).

        2. No, the statue isn’t of her. At least, there it’s no evidence that it is.

        3. No, the statue doesn’t look like any of the Pachamama statues. For one, pachamama statues arw typically standing or sitting, and has very bold bulging features. The woman is kneeling. And the carving is largely two dimensional.

        4. Pedro tells about the clothed image in his first article about this issue, and why it doesn’t look the same.

        5. The Vatican official was giving his personal opinion. Is also a nonsensical one, and his nonchalance about it, given what he believes, is troubling and reflects badly on him.

    • Joshua Hernandez says:

      Rita,

      If this is truly an image of Our Lady then why does the Vatican continue to insist that it is not? Why have they repeatedly told us that it’s an image that symbolizes life and fertility? Why are you going against what the Vatican says? Aren’t you accusing those of us who are confused and suspicious of what these statues are of doing what in fact you’re actually doing by not taking the Vatican at its word and going against what they are telling us? Isn’t your insistence that this is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary a direct affront to what the Vatican is saying? I don’t think it’s fair to look at those of us who are worried and not convinced that this is an image of Our Blessed Mother as delusional conspiracy theorists or paranoid malcontents. This is a massively confusing and utterly grave matter which the Vatican, as usual, is refusing to clarify. In the name of God, your Holiness, what is going on?! Please…

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Actually the Vatican never issued an official answer to that question. The spokespeople were clear that they were presenting their personal opinion and that they were getting more info from the organizers of the event

        However, it is telling that people think that “the Vatican” has denied that it is Mary, but completely gloss over the fact that the same “Vatican” denied that it was pagan all the same. For some reason, only the Mary hypothesis seems to be put into question, but not the pagan hypothesis

      • BJ says:

        Joshua, one thing that it surely not is Pachamama. Pachamama is a deity of the Andean Inca people, not the Amazonians. The Vatican did not know what the statues were, they should have asked and clarified it with the people who brought them, but things get missed in events like this. These were Amazonian Catholics who brought the statues as icons that depicted a deeper spiritual meaning that connects to the Blessed Mother, the Holy Trinity and creation. Rather than attacking fellow indigenous Catholics, let’s try to understand the deeper meanings in human cultures, the V2 documents clearly state that there are elements of Truth in other religions and cultures, we need to grasp those truths and connect them to the Fullness of Truth- Christ Jesus! we all come from the same parents – Adam and Eve, God’s spirit is in all of us.

      • Joshua Hernandez says:

        Pedro,

        Ok, so why won’t the Vatican clear all of this confusion up by making a clear and definitive statement? It’s been weeks. I am a genuinely confused and concerned catholic and there are countless others like me. This is no small matter.

        Yes, on top of denying that it was Mary they also denied that it was pagan. However, to deny that something is pagan and then to go right on to ascribe to that very same thing pagan characteristics that are found in the pagan idol worship of that very region seems to me to be, at best, massively careless oversight, or, at worst, sheer sophistry. Are we just supposed to overlook the very fact that in the pan amazonion region there are places where mother earth and fertility goddess worship is still practiced? It is the pan amazon synod after all, right? I mean, this thing didn’t just pop up out of the cultural milieu of London or New York.

    • L Daily says:

      Yes and now John Zmirak is calling on others to burn Pope Francis’ books. Schism can’t happen soon enough for me.

      • Faith says:

        Sadly, I agree with you. It will be like a spiritual laxative. God’s will be done, as always. May we stay the course!

  16. BJ says:

    Joshua, all the examples you quoted are in the realm of revelation and it is not a requirement for salvation. When you get to heaven there is not going to be a test where they ask you the articles of faith. The one test that will speak for you is if you have Loved as God Loves You. And we have a Pope who wants to bring that gospel of Jesus Christ and the Love of the Triune God to all the world. To answer your question about why certain people you don’t like surround Pope Francis, you should ask Jesus why he went into the company of questionable people himself. They are also children of God and need affirmation. When you quit seeing the Church as a courthouse and see her as a family, much of your concerns will go away. Let the Peace of Christ dwell in us!

    • Marie says:

      🙂

    • Joshua Hernandez says:

      BJ,

      You said: “all the examples you quoted are in the realm of revelation and it is not a requirement for salvation.”

      I’m not sure what you mean by this but all of the examples I gave about past popes had to do with Catholic doctrine as is made clear by the very examples.

      You said: “When you get to heaven there is not going to be a test where they ask you the articles of faith.”

      I’m sure you’re aware that to deny even just one article of faith destroys the virtue of supernatural faith in the soul, which is both necessary for charity as well as salvation. As the Church herself proclaims in her Athanasian creed:
      “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith unless every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

      You said: “The one test that will speak for you is if you have Loved as God Loves You.”

      Absolutely. I agree 100%. Our faith, however, is never in tension or opposition to this but rather a testament to it. If you do not believe God, then you do not love God.

      You said: “To answer your question about why certain people you don’t like surround Pope Francis, you should ask Jesus why he went into the company of questionable people himself. They are also children of God and need affirmation.”

      I will be more inclined to believe you on this point when I see Francis start surrounding himself with the likes of Trump and other such “deplorables”. Up to this point he has seemed to only prefer a certain type of sinner. If you say you’re for abortion, euthanasia, sodomy, contraception and every other wicked thing under the sun, he’ll likely take you under his wing, but, on the other hand, if you’re for border security, national sovereignty or refuse to recycle or you love the Church’s tradition and the latin mass or some other such “rigid” thing then I’ll bet my top dollar you won’t be receiving the same treatment. Jesus was compassionate to sinners, yes. He was the very image of mercy. He approached sinners lovingly in order to help them repent of their sin so that they could save their souls. But He never affirmed anyone in their sins, as does the evil one, satan, who wants us to die unrepentant and go to hell. Rather, He would lovingly confront them and then say “go and sin no more”. I fail to see this same approach in Pope Francis.

      • BJ says:

        Joshua, now you are involved in pure speculation of what the Pope would or would not do. You have never met him and all you do is go by the toxic articles and mass media spread on the internet by questionable sources from the Catholic far right. I would advice you to take a break from their hermeneutics of suspicion. The Church is not what the Rad Trads speculate it to be.

      • Joshua Hernandez says:

        BJ,

        I have met the pope, in fact. Five years ago on our honey moon, my wife and I went to one of his audiences to receive the papal blessing for newlyweds. When each of us, nervously excited and full of joy, attempted to genuflect and kiss the ring of the fisherman he, visibly annoyed, forcefully and aggressively refused us this honor. I was completely startled and confused. He made us feel like we had tried to do something wrong. It was a horrible, humiliating and sad experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was heartbroken at the time. It affected me for weeks. To this day I feel a deep sadness when I remember the event. Years later I came to realize that we weren’t the only ones who suffered this when that famous video of him doing that very same thing surfaced which you can see for yourself here…
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4QCkK4aTyY

        I hold no resentment towards the Holy Father. I pray for him every single day. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the reality staring us in the face. My comments aren’t based on mere speculation. Look at how the Vatican’s reluctant acknowledgment of his meeting with Kim Davis was handled once the story was made public and they were finally forced to stop denying it. Why were my wife and I given the cold shoulder when we simply tried to reverence his office out of love for Christ’s Vicar? These things, among countless others, are real. They happened. It’s not mere baseless speculation. We have to face up to the fact that we get bad popes sometimes. It is what it is.

  17. Rita Michele says:

    Pedro, I agree, it seems that the Vatican has not issued any official answer, yet folks continue to tell me that the Synod Fathers have consistently said in press conferences that it’s not Mary. No one involved with the Synod ever said it was Pachamama, or a fertility goddess idol. Some have said it simply represents life. Even if the statue is merely symbolic of life, that doesn’t make it pagan. Since participants in the tree planting ceremony were bowing around the statue, to me that points to it representing Mary, and those bowing giving her honor. Regardless, someone shouldn’t walk into a church and steal things from it. What if everyone who had an issue with the Catholic Church felt they had a right to steal and destroy anything they didn’t like? And to do it anonymously is pure cowardice.

    • Mary Angelica says:

      Unfortunately, the bowing to the statue isn’t all that useful in determining whether or not it’s Mary.

      I don’t think that one can strongly conclude it’s a pachamama statue, but Latin America tends to be notorious for its synchretism of ingenious beliefs and African imports with Catholicism. And this isn’t me saying this because I’m an ignorant westerner, but rather because most of my family is from these regions.

      The synchretism in particular tended to work by attributing Catholic names to pagan deities. At least, that is how it works with the Caribbean Santeria, or the cult of Maria Leonza in Venezuela. When the lady referred to the statue as Our lady of the Amazon, it thus didn’t have the same conclusive effect on me as it seems to have done so for the (largely Western/ European) authors at WPI. I can give the sincerity of the lady the benefit of the doubt. But I can’t conclude that what occurred there is consistent with sound doctrine and practice.

      The thing that most confuses me is the Vatican officials’ reaction and claim that it’s a symbol of life. The problem with denying that it’s paganism because the statue represents life, as these Vatican officials claim, is that it completely misses the subtle point of paganism, and would actually reinforce the Pachamama theory. Pagan gods and goddesses are typically never arbitrary personalities. They are the personalities intrinsically tied to powerful real forces of the universe, to the extent that in several cases, the name of the deity was the same as the name of the force in question (ex: eros for desire, uranos for heaven). So when you worshipped aphrodite or asherah, it’s because, in some sense, you were generating the powerful forces of sexual desire and fertility represented by these goddesses.

      If you look up Pachamama, what you get is basically the Mother Earth type goddess of indigenous amazonian religion. This isn’t just some random creation, but a, at least on a human level, understandable way of looking at the force of nature and life at the world. In other words, if amazonian paganism is typical in its tendencies (and I don’t see how it’s not, given how it arose out of its people in a specific environment) it’s of the essence of Amazonian paganism that Pachamama would represent life or nature itself, since she would be its personification.

      Now I do agree with Pedro that the Vatican officials didn’t speak in an official capacity. But that only makes their reaction all the more confusing. If it’s the virgin Mary, then yeah, ok no problem (though my hope is that in amazonian cultures, bowing down in a prostrate manner like they did is mere veneration and not adoration), but to worship a mere symbol or “life” shouldn’t be any different in their eyes than worshipping Pachamama, because ancient pagans (and modern amazonian ones) wouldn’t have made that distinction.

      • L Daily says:

        Why in the world do untrained anonymous combox junkies feel they have the ability or even the right to question whether or not this is cultural representation of Mary? If you are told that it is, BY THE VICAR OF CHRIST, then stop talking.

        Truly, it is long past time for Pope Francis to follow Pope Benedict’s example and silence wrong thinking Catholics for the good of the Church.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Well, to be fair, the Vicar of Christ never said anything about it one way or the other

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Your comment is fair and balanced, but I would bring to your attention that I never said the image was not syncretic. I said that we didn’t have enough evidence one way or another and that, therefore, we should charitably not jump to conclusions and assume the best of people if we did not have conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. The only claim I made was that the indigenous people involved in the ritual saw that image as a representation of Our Lady of the Amazon, whether such representation was legitimate or not.

      • BJ says:

        Mary, the big factor is these are fellow Amazonian baptized Catholics, sure it is possible their Catholic faith is mixed in with elements from their past Amazonian religion, but that’s the beauty of the Catholic faith, the Church christianizes the pagan elements that point to the Ultimate Truth. Also, not sure if you looked up Pachamama, she is a deity of the Andean mountain region Inca people, the Amazonians do not worship her. I would give my fellow catholic brethren the benefit of the doubt on this rather than calling them idolators and pagans. Let’s end this hermeneutics of suspicion against brethren.

      • Mary Angelica says:

        Pedro, I never said the image was synchretic either. Only that what I happen to know specifically about Latin American synchretism makes me unsure about the evidence which you use to argue for it being the virgin Mary specifically. Again, I actually am unsure about what it means, and agree that we can’t draw conclusions one way or another.

        BJ, I actually am doubtful it’s Pachamama. My point was to argue that the Vatican officials’ claims that the statute is a symbol of life would actually support it as being pagan, not go against it, given how paganism works.

        BJ, the vast majority of Latin Americans are baptized, but a good chunk of them

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I never said that you claimed the statue was syncretic. But the wording of your comment seemed to suggest that you thought that we had definitely ruled out syncretism. That was not our position.

      • L Daily says:

        I don’t agree Pedro. I fear that we feed into detractors’ false narrative by suggesting that the Pope and synod participants were somehow fooled into using ‘pagan’ symbols, or that the Vatican should issue a statement of clarification or that we need to hold the question open for debate. This tactic, used repeatedly uber right wing, undermines simple trust ordinary Catholics are required to place in the Pope. That a small swath of uncharitable, unimaginative Catholics can only see sacred images through the lens of Western European culture is their deficiency and not worthy of debate or speculation.

      • Marie says:

        L Daily- I agree that the lack of respect is shocking and the Vatican should not respond to the constant accusations. This air of arrogance, that they demand their questions be answered is just jaw dropping. Their continual hissy fits are like rude, undisciplined children with a terribly false sense of entitlement.

  18. carn says:

    @Pedro Gabriel:

    You are aware that twice people acting for LSN alledgedly went to Santa Maria in Traspontina, where the stolen statues were displayed, and allegedly asked someone who allegedly brought one of the statues from South America whether the statue is Pachamama and that someone (whom i as a lawyer might list among the potential owners of the statue, cause if she brought it from SA she likely was owner at that time or at least had permission from actual owner) allegedly was said: ““Yes, …”.

    However one sees the whole issue, if the owner of one of the statues actually confirmed that it is (was) Pachamama, your argument is weakened considerably.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/symbol-of-life-or-pachamama-vatican-and-repam-synod-organizers-divided-on-identity-of-mysterious-statue

    At least this whole issue is rather relevant; cause however one looks at it, people claiming to be Catholics entering a Church right next to Vatican to destroy displayed items, which were used in some rituals and processions taking place in Vatican and in presence of the Pope, is from any viewpoint highly problematic and a serious mess.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Thank you for bringing this up to my attention. I did not know that. However, I do not consider LSN credible, so if there is a priest that said that they carved a statue and called her the Virgin and if LSN comes and says the contrary, I believe the former. There is no credible source validating the Pachamama hypothesis

      • carn says:

        You noted that Ruffini when asked about the theft today said:
        https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-10/ruffini-vatican-prefect-on-theft-of-statues-in-rome.html

        “We have already repeated several times here that those statues represented life, fertility, mother earth. It was a gesture – I believe – that contradicts the spirit of dialogue that should always inspire us. I don’t know what else to say except that it was a theft, and perhaps that speaks for itself.”

        Now you might still argue that the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication about 4 days after being at latest aware about the statues being an issue was unable to get correct information that the statues represent “Our Lady of Amazon” and do not represent “mother earth” (which is often used as name for a pagan godess)

        AND

        that he was unable within at least 21 hours after theft of these statues to get correct nformation that the statues represent “Our Lady of Amazon” and do not represent “mother earth” (Vatican report 21 hours old; no correction offered; it would be a scandal within a scandal if some images of the Blessed Virgin had been desecrated and the one responsible for communication about the issue failed to get aware that images of the Blessed Virgin were desecrated; accordingly, even if Ruffini was not aware at the time of being asked, people being aware about the statues being images of the Blessed Virgin should have alerted his underlings within minutes and hs underlings should have alerted within minutes, and therefore a correction would have been due within less than 21 hours would have been due that images of the Blessed Virgin had been stolen and desecrated)

        AND

        that accidentally he used “dialogue” in that quote, which is often about dialogue between different religions (which is bad after already mentioning “mother earth”, cause it might reinforce the perception that it was a non-catholic idol).

        But I suggest that if you maintain that, you will be unable to maintain that Ruffini should keep his job.

      • BJ says:

        @carn whenever LSN reports events where things are “alleged”, I would take it with a grain of salt, this is their way of keeping “a get out of jail free” card to say that their source was wrong. But like Pedro hinted, they are not a credible source at all.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Indeed it is, but I fail to see what this news article adds to what has already been discussed

  19. carn says:

    @BJ
    Whenever someone links something, check it out before commenting.

    LSN claims that things happened as i described; i write “allegedly” cause it keeps me from taking any stance on whether or not LSN is reliable.

    Though of course you are then partly correct, cause it is then a “get out of jail free” card, but partly wrong, cause its my card.

    • BJ says:

      @Carn but that is not the case. Millions of Catholics in the US do not want to be part of these groups. Millions of Catholics just don’t have the time to listen to these allegations. They are on their knees praying for the church and the leadership. Outside the US, I do not see these groups getting any traction. These people condemn the German Churches, but I know of many movements in the grassroots that are energizing the Catholic faith in Germany, they are not the liberals portrayed by these websites and online personalities who portray themselves as the only defenders of the faith. It’s a fallacy.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Just a heads up BJ: carn is German

      • BJ says:

        @Pedro got it. I did not mean to say that there are less liberals but there are a lot of dedicated Catholics on Germany. I hear of large families having Eucharistic adoration chapels in their homes. I only have hearsay so I have not actually been there to witness it. But I have lived in the Middle East, India, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, a very different perspective of the Catholic faith there. Churches are packed, new churches being built or renovated to add more space… I think we western Catholics need to live for sometime among the Catholics in the East to rekindle our faith. Too much negative energy in the West against the faith.

      • Mary Angelica says:

        It’s also being covered in the spanish world, fwi.

  20. carn says:

    And since it was discussed here:

    You want a symbolic figure for igniting schism?

    Catch the thieves and put them on trial and watch the mess Vatican will create, when defense – as it would be their duty – tries to argue that under Church law removing and destroying statues of pagan godess “mother earth” was not only permissible but that the accused due to their conscience could not act differently – for what would God say if they tolerated such? – and the Vatican will be forced to react due the defense citing Ruffini and others and the state attorney then trying to destroy that argument by polititely asking Vatican to deny that it was “mother earth”,

    and then you will have perfect symbolic figures,

    with Church Militant, LSN, EWTN, etc. calling for demonstrations of solidarity and hunting down any bishop saying something positive about getting ride of “mother earth” idols.

    And then millions of Catholics might end up having the impression that Vatican officially is in favor of punishment for “sacrilege” against the pagan godess “mother earth”.

    That might do it.

    Usually, I am for violaters of law being caught and tried. But in this case I am in favor of postponement till Vatican communications get their act together.

    • BJ says:

      @carn., I was not saying that it is your “get out of jail free” card… just pointing out the tactics of these bully groups-LSN, CM, TNT, Remnant and some of the wannabe alarmists at EWTN. Actually these groups only exist in the US as a mass media movement. They are not “millions” in number. They use online bully tactics to silence people. I deal with them a lot. They hate reading scripture but will scour through church documents to pick a few paragraphs to prove a point, much like a Sola Scriptura Protestant, except they are Sola Traditio.

      • carn says:

        “Actually these groups only exist in the US as a mass media movement.”

        If millions of Catholics in the US end up having the impression that Vatican officially is in favor of punishment for “sacrilege” against the pagan godess “mother earth”, everything is in place for schism. And for “having the impression” incompetent reaction by Vatican to such a trial could be sufficient together with what you called “bully groups”.

  21. BJ says:

    Thanks for the heads up Pedro. I did not mean to bring up the German church in any negative way, but there are sincere Catholics in Germany spending time interceding in Eucharistic adoration, evangelizing at the grassroots. I have heard their accounts from fellow Catholics in Germany, they are not pessimistic, what they tell me is that it is winter in Europe but a great spring of faith is coming. They are not talked about on social media.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      The heads up is more in the sense of: carn is from Germany and does not share your perception that the church there is less liberal than how it is painted. But then again, I could be wrong

      • carn says:

        However liberal it is, the same “front lines” are there and at least online, the “trad camp” is competitive:

        That kath.net is “trad camp” is clearly shown by title of their statues into Tiber article:
        http://kath.net/news/69504
        “Katholiken werfen nackte ‘Pachamama’-Figuren in den Tiber”

        Guess no need to translate. And they already had an article 10th October about ceremony citing actually LSN.

        On the other hand, katholisch.de (semi-official site from bishop conference) is only now making readers aware about the issue of the statues, cause – at least I think so from their articles – they think the issue of bowing to something, which might represent “mother earth”, is actually mostly unproblematic and “trads” actually only use this as vehicle to sow division. That “trads” might actually honestly be concerned about breaking 1st commandment is something I think which is beyond their perspective. Just like the “trads” cannot get their head around why that might be impossible to understand.

        So while in Germany “trad media” is weaker comparatively, the “front lines” and issues are similar, at least online. And I see little possibilities of bridges.

        One thing that I see positive about WPI is, that you at least seem to get that if people actually went to their knees before and worshiped a pagan goddess idol in Vatican gardens under the eyes of the Pope and that the idol is then also part of Synodal processions and is at times present in the assembly hall, that you would at least agree that there might be some problem.

        With katholisch.de I am not sure whether they would mind.

  22. BJ says:

    @Joshua, sorry that you felt hurt by not being allowed by Pope Francis to kiss his ring. That is definitely not a requirement in his eyes which I believe he has conveyed to people, he prefers you shake his hand or even give a hug. I have heard other people say it too and I do understand the sentiment behind kissing the ring. I think PF has made it clear that he does not want to be treated like royalty and his papacy is going to be one that reaches out to you like Jesus reaches out. I hope you can offer the wound to Jesus and forgive and move on. We all have weaknesses in personality.

  1. October 19, 2019

    […] across this post from Pedro Gabriel over at Where Peter Is. Watching the video I am inclined to change my opinion re the intentions of Amazon natives, even […]

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