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[This article has been updated on the “The answer to Ivereigh” section]

Since the publication of my article about the alleged pagan ritual hosted at the Vatican Gardens, new facts have emerged. This was bound to happen, as I myself admitted and wished for in the conclusion of the article. After all, there was still much that was not known about the ceremony at the time. This is why I was very cautious in drawing any conclusions from it. The only claims that I presented as solid were: 1) the alleged “phallic man” was not phallic at all and 2) one of the images of a seemingly naked pregnant woman represented Our Lady of the Amazon. The latter was mainly grounded on the words of the native woman who presented the image to the Pope: she said it was “Our Lady of the Amazon.”

I again refer you to the video of the whole ceremony here. The part where she calls it “Our Lady of the Amazon” can be heard at the 13:20 mark.

Since then, and as expected, those who hold to what I call the “hermeneutic of suspicion” have doubled down instead of recanting. They have found ways to try to disprove that the figure was indeed Our Lady of the Amazon, so that the narrative of the pagan ritual could still hold and they would have yet another accusation to hurl at the Holy Father. I will try to address these apparent counter-arguments and present some new information that strengthens my conviction that this is indeed Our Lady.


The “Our Lady of the Amazon” title

One of the reflexive responses from the critics was that there is no such thing as “Our Lady of the Amazon.” Of course, asserting such a definitive negative claim in a Church with a universal reach and a wide diversity of Marian expressions is always problematic. A simple Google search shows that there is at least one chapel called Our Lady of the Amazon (“Nossa Senhora da Amazônia”) in a missionary area in Manaus, Brazil. It is not implausible that there may be other expressions of this devotion in the Pan-Amazonian Area that, because of their remoteness, have no expression online.

The reason why I bring this up is because I noted a pattern in the critics who present these charges. First, the critic will make the outlandish claim that there is no such thing as Our Lady of the Amazon. When proven wrong, the critic will browse the website of that parish and produce this picture, which appears in the aforementioned chapel.

The critic will point out that this representation of Our Lady of the Amazon displays the Virgin as a native woman, as does the controversial figure. However, the critic will point out that the Virgin is fully clothed in the “official” version. Therefore, according to the critic, the statue in the Vatican Gardens, where the woman is depicted naked or semi-naked, is not Our Lady of the Amazon, but a fertility goddess.

This critical interpretation fails to take into account that manifestations of popular piety are not centrally designed, but emerge from the faithful on the ground. This means that they can be (and often are) heterogeneous.

The clothed image of Our Lady of the Amazon in the Manaus chapel was designed in 2011, in a contest approved by the Vatican. Unfortunately, it was not designed by a native person. You can see the 2011 news article here (in Portuguese).

The news article explains that the creator of this image did indeed do heavy research to make it as indigenous-like as possible. Still, it was an image of Our Lady designed to appear as a native Amazonian woman, but created by a non-indigenous artist. The designer was explicit in stating that, even though she tried to present the Virgin as an indigenous woman, she took care to clothe her, even introducing a non-Amazonian white veil.

In this context, it is not strange that an image of Our Lady of the Amazon, created by the Amazonian people themselves, was bound to emerge. Nor is it unexpected that this image would represent the Virgin as indigenous in the natives’ own terms. Doing so was also bound to challenge western ideas of how Mary should be represented, especially since the indigenous people of the Amazon have a different cultural view of nakedness which does not necessarily entail concupiscence or immodesty on their part.

The woman presiding over the Vatican Garden ritual referred to the statue as “Our Lady of the Amazon.” Even if this representation was created specifically for the purpose of this Synod, it was still produced to represent Our Lady of the Amazon. Therefore, it is Our Lady of the Amazon. Since the previous claim, before the goal post was moved, was that there was no such title for the Blessed Virgin, and since we already have some evidence that the title Our Lady of the Amazon preceded this ritual, and was even formally approved by the Vatican in 2011, then this argument does not hold.

(As a sidenote, it is interesting that the 2011 clothed Our Lady of the Amazon is placed in a canoe-shaped chapel, representing this aspect of the indigenous people culture. Therefore, there are some elements that are common to both depictions of Our Lady of the Amazon)


The answer to Ivereigh

On October 7th, the English journalist and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh asked Bishop David Guinea for clarification on the identity of the mysterious image. The bishop’s answer can be heard here.

This was immediately seized upon by papal critics to validate their spin. The Vatican had confirmed – they would say – that it was not the Virgin Mary after all. This is official confirmation that it was a pagan ritual.

There are some problems with this reasoning. First (assuming the English translation in real time is even accurate), the bishop says that he thinks there is no need to make a connection with the Virgin Mary or with a pagan element. How the critics have jumped from this to the conclusion that the Mary interpretation had been refuted, while the pagan interpretation still stood, just goes to show their partiality. Pachamama is as much refuted by these words as Mary.

Secondly, the bishop is not talking in his official capacity as “The Vatican” here. Granted, he is one of the Secretaries of the Synod, but this was a Q&A session that was not even related to this issue before Ivereigh brought it up. It was not an official clarification on this topic. To my knowledge, no official organ of the Vatican released any official statement on the Vatican Gardens ritual after it was carried out. Also, as the original story from Catholic News Agency makes clear, the Vatican was not involved in the organization of the event.

Finally, and more importantly, it is obvious that the bishop did not know for certain what was going on. He says that this is “his interpretation,” and that the image “probably” is a representation of life, earth, etc. It is not a definitive take, nor was it informed by the input of those involved in the ceremony. It is just his guess.

Bishop Guinea’s experience and knowledge on the Amazonian people is certainly respectable, given his background. However, his opinions do not trump the words of the native woman who presided over the ritual. She was there, she presided over it, she probably was involved in organizing it, she knows her own culture. She presents the image as “Our Lady of the Amazon.” No external element can tell her that she means something different than what she means it to be. No one can tell her: “you don’t know what that statue means, here is what it actually means.”

[update: Catholic News Agency posted a news article according to which a Vatican communications official denied that the figure is the Virgin Mary; However, if you read the full news article, and if you watch the full video of the exchange, you can see that, and I quote: “Ruffini said that interpretation is his personal opinion, and he was not speaking as the head of Vatican communications or synod communications.” He then went on to say what “he thought” it meant. Fr. Costa, who is being touted as having denied it was the Virgin Mary, said that “he didn’t even see the statue” and didn’t seem very certain of this response to that.

It is interesting that Dr. Ruffini also said: “I believe to try and see pagan symbols or to see… evil, it is not.” But critics are using his words to validate the “it’s pagan” narrative.

Finally, “Cristiane Murray, vice director of the Holy See press office, added that more information about the wooden figure should be sought from REPAM or the organizers of the events where the image has been present.” That’s what I advocated in my previous article and what I did in this article (read below.) However, people are using this new piece of information to eschew the interpretations offered by the actual participants in the event.

In other words, they haven’t even read the news articles they are sharing. They just found what they thought was an easy rebuttal and shared it without even thinking whether it actually refuted our articles or not. In the end, it says much about their credibility that they are asserting, “The Vatican has officially said it’s pagan,” when the piece clearly says their interpretation is not official and the figure is not pagan. They are also trying to say that we should not believe the participants of the event, when the video clearly shows the people at the Press Conference stated they didn’t know what it was, that they needed to do more research, and said we should ask the organizers of the event.

In other words, everything that I said above regarding Bp. Guinea can be applied to this new development]


Other criticism

There were other voices trying to bypass the native woman’s interpretation of her own ritual, in order to advance their own.

One such person was a certain Brother Alexis Bugnolo, who presents himself as a having a B.A. in anthropology. In a text released online, he affirmed that the image was an idol of Pachamama, and that it received veneration of latria.

He does not explain how he arrived at this conclusion, nor does he cite any reference or evidence that may validate his claims. He simply flaunts his credentials and then goes on to gratuitously assert his conclusions. This is not a scholarly way to do things. Especially since we can plainly see that this is a biased source, and probably not reliable, since most of his article is spent not on proving that this image is Pachamama, but in explaining that, if he was a bishop, he would declare the Pope excommunicated.

Of course, no anthropologist, no matter how knowledgeable or scholarly, can pretend to lecture the cultures that he studies on what their rituals and practices actually mean. In other words, if the native woman who presided over the ritual says that the statue is Our Lady, then her interpretation is more authoritative than that of any academic.

LifeSiteNews, on their end, used a different type of sleight of hand. They interviewed an actual tribal leader, Jonas Marcolino Macuxi, who asserted that the ritual was pagan.

LifeSiteNews, of course, is not a reliable source. They have been instrumental in generating the very same “hermeneutic of suspicion” mentality that I warned against in my previous article. They are constantly spinning the acts and words of the Pope in an unfavorable way. To showcase their modus operandi (and how desperate they are to find excuses to criticize the Pope), it suffices to link to this article of theirs.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that this tribal leader was interviewed in the context of a conference sponsored by Tradition, Family and Property, a right-wing and traditionalist organization that has been at the forefront of the resistance to the Synod in the Amazon.

It is hardly surprising that Jonas describes the natives in this ceremony as being manipulated by left-wing Liberation Theology clerics, or that he would validate the narrative that LifeSiteNews wanted to promote. Still, there are more extremely important facts that cannot be ignored. First of all, this tribal leader is not Catholic, but Evangelical. It would be interesting to ask him whether he views any kind of veneration to Our Lady (even uncontroversial Catholic expressions like Our Lady of Fatima) as idolatry. Secondly, contrary to what the translator in the video says, the leader does not say that the ritual was “pagan.” He never uses that expression. He may imply it, by saying that it is “primitive” and that certain elements (like using smoke to ward off spirits) are not practiced by his tribe anymore and are reminiscent of shamans of old. Nevertheless, expressions such as, “it’s 100% pagan,” are added by the translator, not uttered by the leader. Jonas’s main concern seems to be with the smoking objects, not with the image of Our Lady. Maybe as an Evangelical, he may not believe there is any Christian way to use those ancient objects, but Catholics do have such things as incense-burners. I do not view those objects as unable to have a Christian ceremonial purpose once the natives convert to Catholicism.

In the end, nothing in this video disproves that the image was Our Lady of the Amazon. Also, Jonas’s concerns are based on similarities with ancient rituals, but he cannot assert with certainty that that was the intent of those practicing the ritual in the Vatican Gardens.


The words of the native woman

While these sources were spinning the narrative and being uncritically accepted by those who view what’s happening in the Church today through the lens of the hermeneutic of suspicion, I was receiving more and more confirmation that the image was indeed Our Lady of the Amazon.

The first happened during a Twitter exchange with another Portuguese-speaking source who, at the time, was advancing very forcefully the notion that this was a pagan ceremony. After a discussion with me, he conceded that the native woman really presented the statue to the Pope as “Our Lady of the Amazon.

Though I admire Catholic Sat’s intellectual honesty, I do not agree with his translation in its entirety. First, it is necessary to highlight that the woman is not speaking in Portuguese, but in Spanish. This, of course, does not change anything, since the similarities between the two languages makes it possible for most Portuguese-speaking people to intuitively understand Spanish.

However, even so, there are some parts that are muffled by the clicks of the cameras. I cannot personally confirm that the other person said “Avé Maria,” or that the woman later said, “give it to the Pope, to the Church.”

On the other hand, I do not think the woman says, “the bride of the Church” (“noiva da Igreja” in Portuguese or “novia de la Iglesia” in Spanish). It simply does not match the syllables and vowels she is pronouncing. The only thing that is clear is that she said “… of the Church” (“… de la Iglesia“).

I listened to the clip several times, trying to make sense of the inaudible part. I tried to match it with the most probable words: queen (“reina“), patroness (“patrona“), mother (“madre“)… none seems to be correct. It could be “pray for the Church” (“ruega por la Iglesia“), but unfortunately, we already established that she says “… of the Church” (“… de la Iglesia“) and not “… for the Church” (“… por la Iglesia“). The phrase, “pray of the Church,” is clumsy wording.

After listening to it many times, the translation that seems more plausible (and which was confirmed by a Spanish-speaking friend) is that she says “Nuestra Señora de la Amazonia, con el huevo de la Iglesia.” Which translates as “Our Lady of the Amazon, with the egg of the Church.”

However, this translation is provisory. Maybe some other Spanish-speaking person may reach a more accurate wording. One thing, though, is certain: the woman presented the statue to the Pope as “Our Lady of the Amazon, [inaudible] of the Church.”


Other confirmation

While the debate was raging, the figure at the center of the controversy did not sit quietly. In Oct 7th, it was once again sighted, this time inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

If inserting a pagan ritual into an otherwise Christian ceremony was already strange, then introducing a pagan idol in the Basilica would be even stranger. Of course, for the hermeneuts of suspicion, it just reinforced their suspicions on how bad things are. For a reasonable person, this just shows how much more plausible it that the image represents Our Lady and is not a pagan idol.

It also seems that the figure is now in the Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina. This is consistent with what Christopher Lamb had already reported in a tweet that I noted as strengthening the evidence in favor of this being Our Lady of the Amazon.

In this link, it is possible to see a video of a service being held in the Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina (It is worth noting that I am not the maker of this video, nor did I edit it): At the 28 second mark, it is possible to see the image. At the 49 second mark, we see many people holding hands around the image and praying Avé Maria.

We also can see that, like in the ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, this service is held in a profoundly Christian context, not pagan. At the 33 second mark, we see a young girl sitting in the same canoe where Our Lady was before. Besides her, a middle-aged woman (who is obviously conducting the activity) asks “Quem quer se arriscar agora?” (“Who wants to take the chance now?“). Later, at the 37 second mark, the girl is lifted up with the canoe, while the middle-aged woman says: “Olhe gente, Jesus está chamando. Está chamando forte. Agora há muita gente escutando o chamado de Jesus” (“Look guys, Jesus is calling. He is calling very strongly. Now, many people will hear the calling of Jesus“). It is a Christian activity, probably related to God’s calling. The young woman answers to Jesus’ call and sits in the same canoe where the image of Our Lady was before (Our Lady being the model of everyone who answers the call of God.)

Finally, on October 10th, reporter Melissa Blutz, correspondent of Rome Reports, did what I suggested in my previous piece. She interviewed one of the organizers of the Vatican Garden ceremony: Fr. Carrasco Rojas, a missionary priest for indigenous people in Peru. He said:

“They carved in wood an image of a Blessed Mother, who is pregnant. She is the Virgin, and we have called her Our Lady of the Amazon. She represents the Amazon, because what is the Amazon? The Amazon is a woman, she is female, she has a female face. Why? Because the earth is a mother, the earth gives life. So that is the Amazon.”

Please note, that even if the figure represents the Amazon, it is the Virgin, the Blessed Mother. This is consistent with the original Spanish, where the Father uses the term in an unequivocal way, showing that it is not just any virgin, but the Virgin. Anyway, it is presented once again as Our Lady of the Amazon.


Conclusions

One week after the controversy, people are still scrapping for ways to try to portray the image as pagan. This should have all died as soon as it was established that the native woman who presented the statue to the Holy Father said it was Our Lady of the Amazon. She should know. However, this answer would not be consistent with the narrative set up by the hermeneuts of suspicion. They continue to cling to the opinions of other people: bishops, anthropologists, or tribal leaders at conferences held by right-wing organizations. They will not rest until they get the answer they want.

However, the closer we get to the actual sources, the clearer it becomes that the people involved in the Vatican Gardens ceremony view the image as Our Lady. Sure, it carries additional associated symbolic meanings (the Amazon, femininity, motherhood), but we cannot exclude the Marian meaning of the image, nor can we deny that it is the meaning that is most consistently associated with it. We certainly cannot claim that the image is Pachamama, when that name has not been uttered by them, even once.

The fact that so many people cover their ears and refuse to to hear what the actual organizers of the event have to say about the event that they organized is telling. The fact that many people refuse to believe the indigenous woman who presented the image to the pope as Our Lady of the Amazon–preferring instead ideologically-driven alternative explanations from other people who did not contribute to the ritual in any way–shows just how important and needed this Synod is. As Francis has said many times, one of the main purposes of the Synod is to listen to the Amazonian people. Ideologues are not listening to them, so self-assured they are that they are accurately grasping everything that is happening.

The indigenous people do not need to be told that their ritual was pagan, when they clearly do not view it as such. Nor would it be plausible to assume that they were invited to perform a pagan ritual before the Pope in the middle of an otherwise Christian ceremony, without so much as an explanation of what they were doing. They view themselves as Christians. We should believe them. And we should believe them when they tell us about their culture and rituals. They don’t need outsiders with absolutely no knowledge of their culture to tell them that the image is “clearly pagan.” If they say it’s Our Lady of the Amazon, it’s Our Lady of the Amazon. Period.

Unfortunately, at this moment, opinions are already crystalized and there is little that we can do about it. Those who, against all evidence, continue to believe that this was a pagan ritual, will continue to believe so, and will find more new ways to justify their preconceived notion. Because it’s not about the truth of the facts, it’s about having another reason to criticize Pope Francis.

Even if there was a shred of doubt, we should use the most charitable interpretation. In the absence of concrete proof that there is something wrong with what was performed in the Vatican Gardens, we should assume that it was a Christian ceremony, done with the accompaniment of the Church, and with no elements that are incompatible with the Catholic faith. Shouting “it’s clearly pagan” or “it’s clearly syncretic,” without any proof, simply does not cut it. It may be very convenient for a certain worldview, but in the end, it is not right. In accusing them of paganism, they are potentially (and most likely) bearing false witness against them.

Even more gravely, it is using these indigenous people as props in a Culture War. They should not be viewed as such, for they are not props: they are people, endowed by their Creator with human dignity. They are brothers and sisters in Christ and deserve our respect. And respect starts with listening. Pope Francis understands this. Let us follow on his footsteps and continue praying and working for the successful conclusion of this much-needed Synod.

Our Lady of the Amazon, pray for us.

[Featured picture credits: Christopher Lamb]

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79 Responses

  1. jong says:

    Thanks Pedro, you had been blessed to shed light on this issue being a Portuguese and understand it’s language even its variations in Spanish.
    St.Thomas gave us the right words in this time of debate with the church critics & enemies “For those who have faith no explanation is needed but to those who have not, no explanation would suffice.”
    Our Lady of the Amazon is a depiction of how far Mama Mary’s humility can go just to reach out to the indigenous people to save them. While all the martyr’s who followed the footsteps of Jesus Christ showed it by giving their life and willingly embraces painful tortures, Mama Mary are also willing to be humiliated by the Modern World in their sensual eyes corrupted by the malice of Satan. A pure & converted heart like a matured Christian can look at the naked statue with hyperdulia but to a soul who are corrupted by the malice of Satan like Eve when he had fallen will felt ashamed.
    If we ask all the Mother’s in this world if they are willing to give their life for the sake of their children? A naked statue if that is a way to reach out to the indigenous people to save them, all the Mother’s will be wiling to give & sacrifice themselves and offer it to God to save one precious child..
    Let us remember, Adam & Eve although naked was seen by God as pure & innocent, and the clothing that the Modern World used as a symbol of decency is used by God to cloth Adam & Eve who had fallen into sin.
    Those who boast that a “cloth” is a symbol of decency, must ponder how God look at us, as scriptures clearly reminded all of us;
    “God looks in the heart not in appearance”. (1Samuel16:7)
    Our Lady of the Amazon, pray for us. S&IHMMP4us. My Jesus mercy. Amen

  2. Rita Michele says:

    Thank you for this, Pedro. Your first article was balm for this weary soul, and you’ve been able to confirm your original interpretation of the tree planting ceremony. Bravo! I’m so glad to have found this blog. God bless you. Our Lady of the Amazon, pray for us.

  3. George XY Palantine says:

    This is pretty silly. Just because there is a chapel somewhere in the Amazon does not mean there is anything called Our Lady of the Amazon, at least as an officially recognized Catholic church thing. Any of the people out there spreading their liberation theology could have called their chapel that, because they simply made it up. If a lady comes up to you with a Pachamamma statue, which is pagan, then tells you that it is Our Lady of the Amazon, you are kind of foolish to believe her. The whole thing was pagan, and no attempts to spin this pagan ceremony are going to work. You might not like Lifesite, but in fact they interviewed a chief of an Amazon tribe, and he said it was a pagan ceremony. He should know. Reading this supposed explanation has only confirmed for me that there is no legit explanation for this ceremony. I am sure some would like to explain it as totally Catholic. As I said before, these same people, if a black mass were to be held in the Vatican, would be telling us that it was totally Catholic.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      “Just because there is a chapel somewhere in the Amazon does not mean there is anything called Our Lady of the Amazon, at least as an officially recognized Catholic church thing.”

      Hum… the chapel is literally called “Our Lady of the Amazon”. Also, as I said in the article, the chapel (and, therefore, the title “Our Lady of the Amazon”) was approved by the Vatican in 2011.
      ***
      “If a lady comes up to you with a Pachamamma statue, which is pagan, then tells you that it is Our Lady of the Amazon, you are kind of foolish to believe her.”

      Actually, you would be foolish to not believe an indigenous woman who presents a statue you know nothing about and told you it was Our Lady. It would be foolish to tell her: “that’s not what you say it is, that is pagan, I read it online”
      ***
      “The whole thing was pagan, and no attempts to spin this pagan ceremony are going to work.”

      Gratuitous assertion gratuitously denied. But we agree that no justification, no matter how evidence based, will ever work for people who want it to be pagan in order to validate their dissent from the Vicar of Christ.
      ***
      ”You might not like Lifesite, but in fact they interviewed a chief of an Amazon tribe, and he said it was a pagan ceremony.”

      As I said in my article, that pagan leader never explicitly said it was a pagan ceremony. The “it’s pagan” was added by the translator
      ***

      “He should know.”

      So the indigenous leader who says what you want him to say “should know”, but not the lady who actually presided over the actual event. That one should not be believed, according to your words. The double standard is staggering.
      ***
      ”Reading this supposed explanation has only confirmed for me that there is no legit explanation for this ceremony.”

      Correct. Because you are under the spell of the hermeneutic of suspicion. I presented to you the actual unadulterated words of the people involved. That does not suffice for you. The ones who got it right are the ones who say what your itchy ears want to hear

      • Anne Lastman says:

        Thanks Pedro, Ive reached a place of weariness. So thank you for this.

      • George XY Palantine says:

        Again, this is completely silly. The fact that somebody somewhere called their chapel Our Lady of the Amazon means nothing. The statue that was presented during the pagan ceremony is not at all like the statue that exists in this church. The Church statue is appropriate. The pagan idol that was used in the Vatican ceremony is not, it was naked, it was a standard fertility pagan goddess thing, and it was surrounded by other pagan totems on a blanket that is associated with the pachamama cult. Using your reasoning, if a satanist enters the Vatican and presents us with a statue of Baphomet, and calls it “Our Lady of Satan”, she must be correct and their must be an Our Lady of Satan, and it must be Catholic, because the LADY says so. You simply believe some woman you do not know, when there are MULTIPLE Amazonian residents who are saying exactly the opposite. There are multiple Amazonian people who are now saying “Yes, that was totally pagan, I was surprised to see such things take place in the Vatican”.

        And now you take the low road, saying that anyone who disagrees with you on this is devoted to opposing the Vicar of Christ. How typical.

        The simple fact is that some liberation theology types have invaded the amazon, told the natives to continue to worship their pagan gods, have pretty much abandoned Catholicism, and have decided it would be “fun” to create new ceremonies that are mostly pagan, with a tiny dash of Christianity thrown in. If you watched the entire video of the ceremony, there was NOTHING AT ALL that could be identified as Catholic, with the exception of one thing – when the lady went up to the pope, she made the sign of the cross.

        Your basic argument is this “Who are you going to believe, your own eyes or me, who is telling you different”

  4. Chris dorf says:

    Thank you for this

  5. Pete Vickery says:

    Wow you really do your homework Pedro. I can also concur with your point about Portuguese speakers understanding Spanish but Spanish speakers not understanding Portuguese. When I worked in Mexico (Cancun) I noticed the Brazilians could understand what I said to them in Spanish but I just couldn’t make out their Portuguese. This is a really excellent dissection of what went on after only a week or so. The point you make about the hermeneutic of suspicion is what I have encountered in my life as well. It used to come from Protestants but more often now I pick up on it with certain Catholics. It would be great if everyone got the chance to live for awhile in a third world country and culture as I was privileged to do at one point in my life. I got to meet Mayan Indians who didn’t even speak Spanish and who lived as Mayans did hundreds of years ago (in the forgotten pueblos of Mexico). They have representations of saints and Our Lady that are not strange to them but strange to us first world American or European types. I was glad to read the speech Pope JPII gave to the Australian Aboriginals. Ironic that Pope JPII was accused (at the Assisi religious event) of what Pope Francis is now being accused of. Francis is not the first pope they have had in their crosshairs. Maybe it was providential that Pope John Paul held his event in a city named after a saint who also had a great love for the environment (St Francis of Assisi referring in his “Canticle of the Sun” to Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire etc… .) as well as a love for animals and providential also that our current pope chose the name Francis. There is a lot we can learn still from St Francis of Assisi. Anyway, bravo on a great article.

    • George XY Palantine says:

      The John Paul II speech was right on point. He valued their culture, but made clear that NOW they were Christians. Period. There is no comparison between what JP II said, which was correct, and the nonsense we are seeing during the Synod on the Amazon, where the emphasis is in retaining their original nature as pagans, and rejecting and even hating Europeans and their religion (Catholicism). The stynod statements are classic liberation theology stuff, which was thoroughly condemned by JP II and Benedict. Now they are reviving it and trying to model the church after this discredited fake theology.

      • Pete Vickery says:

        You’re right that Pope JPII said the Aboriginals were Christian. I’m sure Pope Francis will compliment the Amazonians at this synod as fellow Christians as well, if he has not done so already. I think you need to demonstrate your assertions about the current synod. You say this synod is emphasizing the retention of the participants “original nature as pagans”. How so? Can you demonstrate who is doing this? Names would be a start. Any of the 185 voting participants(priests, bishops, cardinals and one brother) involved in this? There are also non-voting fraternal delegates and observers. I read the list over at Crux. Which participants are “rejecting and even hating ‘Europeans and their religion(Catholicism)”? Which are pagan? There are 12 “special guests” who have no voting rights: according to Crux they are scientists and Nobel Prize winners as well as at least one expert on indigenous rights. Is the indigenous rights expert the focus of your fear? There are also religious sisters who are classified as observers. You’ve made pretty strong assertions. Pedro has demonstrated that what you have already called pagan was actually not. I just gave you a list of participants, voting members, observers and special guests from a conservative publication source and I can’t find a pagan among them. Instead of insisting we’re wrong, why not make a logical demonstration of where Pedro or I have erred? Just saying Pedro is “silly” really is not convincing. Let me help a little bit. You said “Europeans and their religion(Catholicism).” You do realize Catholicism is not Europe’s to claim don’t you? Catholicism started in Jerusalem (Pentecost) and expanded from the near middle east to the ends of the earth, right? So how can you call Catholicism a European religion? Did you not know that Latin America and the Caribbean have (as of 2010- according to the Pew Research Center) 425 million Catholics to Europe’s 257 million? And oops, the most populous Catholic country in the world is Amazonian (Brazil) with 105 million adherents??? Just to be clear, Catholicism means “universal”; did you forget that? Africa is the fastest growing Catholic continent. Lots of weirdly dressed Catholics with strange liturgical dances and statues there. Do they make your pagan list as well? Catholicism is neither European nor Asian nor Latin American nor African – it is universal and inclusive (not exclusive like your precious Lifesite News). As the saying goes, when you say here come the Catholics it’s really “here comes everyone”. Lots of inculturation in this universal Church which reflects the endless beauty and never-ending variety that we see in God’s creation. By the way, you can google Catholic portraits of the Blessed Virgin with breasts exposed from medieval European times. Pedro only happened to mention one of them (the “Lactation of St Bernard” depicting St Bernard of Clairvaux receiving in his mouth the squirting breast milk of the Blessed Virgin Mary). It is a depiction of a visitation Bernard supposedly had from her. And by golly these type of paintings got into medieval European churches! How dare those modernists! Where was Michael Voris! You don’t have to worry about Pope Francis. He’s the head of the Church. You just need to do a little more research. Read Austin Ivereigh’s biography of Pope Francis. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised. Reject the hermeneutic of suspicion and the imagisterium. Reject the Jack Chick Catholics. All the synod has right now is a working document. It will eventually be changed a multitude of times and finally submitted to Pope Francis who will probably revise it some more. In the end we’ll have something beautiful thanks to Christ’s vicar on earth who has the guarantee of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From the beginning of this synod, Pope Francis has invoked the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt the same Spirit who arrived at Pentecost will guide this gathering as well.

  6. AveMaria says:

    The promoters of the hermeneutics of suspicion will be condemned for multiple sins of false witness, rash judgement, and detraction. I find interesting how they constantly pretend to school the Pope, the magisterium and the whole church when they completely disregard their moral duty as taught in the catechism. They accumulate slanders and pretend that makes a “coherent” picture, even though it is just a pathetic nothing burger, as always.

  7. Wayne says:

    Me thinks he doth protest too much; where you can see smoke through the ‘lens’ there must be ‘nested uncertainties’. The Lepanto Institute summary is worth reading:- https://mailchi.mp/lepantoinstitute/your-catholic-week-in-review-flames-of-revolution-edition?e=9b6ca3afc1

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Oh good… another western person who knows more than the people who actually organized and participated in the event

  8. Anne Lastman says:

    Thank you Pedro from another weary soul
    I grieve so much for the Holy Father. I grieve for the loss of peace and balance in our church at a time when most needed.
    I am so sad that there is so much virulence against the Holy Father. Why? What is the aim.? What is to be achieved?
    I am saddened by loss of friends and supporters since my defence of the Holy Father
    It’s become a real cross for me so I cannot imagine what it must be like for the Holy Father
    We need to pray that this strong demon attacking the church is vanquished soon.
    We need to pray that St Michael comes to our aid. Soon please Lord.

  9. Lazarus says:

    Since 2015 I’ve known about the coming schism. It’s all topsy turvy. The Church is treated like a democratic society where the pope has to agree with the electorate. As if the Church’s policies was the plank of a Catholic cardinal/politician. They have media to spread bad gossip/propaganda about other factions within the Church. Anyone who truly believes the doctrine of papal supremacy and all that it entails is called a papolater.

    But is makes no sense. If the pope is a heretic who must be resisted today, there’s no guarantee the faith passed on by past popes is sound. It is the papacy that separates Catholicism and Orthodoxy. We aren’t traditional for the sake of being traditional. If we were we should have the traditional Aramaic mass. The problem with saying that the Church is a false church or fell into error is that it means that the Church defected from the faith. You don’t become the remnant of faithful Chrisians in the end times by resisting, but it means that Catholicism is a false religion, always was, Whether before Vatican II or after. If what they are getting at is true they should be Orthodox or Protestant

  10. Marie says:

    Thank you for this Pedro. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, no more, no less worthy or valuable. The criticisms directed at the pope have now entered a totally make believe world, where he is supposed to prove that something doesn’t mean what some say they think it does, or prove he didn’t say what someone else says he did, etc. It is resembling a totally dysfunctional family or marriage, where ridiculous suspicion is now the foundation of the relationship. Like in any troubled marriage, the one who is so jealous and suspicious is the one who can’t be trusted. It is unhealthy and they are becoming totally unhinged.

  11. Ferdinand says:

    Perhaps one would say that depict Our Lady like that is worse than using Pachamama. Is an inculturation of Mary in a Pachamama way, perhaps…
    SO SAD!

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      There are sadder things. I think the Our Lady of the Roman Apostasy that is venerated by so many dissenters, though with no approval from Rome, is much more sad and offensive to the Blessed Mother

      • Papa G says:

        Wow, I’ve never heard of Our Lady of the Roman Apostasy. Are there any images or photos you could show us? By the way, who was that carving of the little guy with his “arm” sticking up in the air? Is he an image of some Amazonian saint or something? And what was he doing there with the other carvings? Looks like he’s pitching a tent but needs a blanket.

        So much to learn!

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        The Our Lady of the Roman Apostasy is a rhetorical device. As far as the little guy with the arm, I don’t know. Maybe ask the people involved in the ceremony. Until then, charitably assume it is nothing bad.

      • jong says:

        Papa G
        The Our Lady of Roman Apostasy belongs to the schismatic Cardinals & Bishops who are deceiving their followers to offer rosary prayers and fasting in disguised of Prayer Crusade.
        Do you think Our Lady will support any prayer crusades whose intention is to undermine the Mission of the Church and paint a bad image of the Church and attack the dignity of the Vicar of Christ?
        The question is why Apostasy?
        Because this Cardinals & Bishops thinks they still part of the Church even if they openly “resist” the Pope and encourage and influence others to follow their schismatic acts & behavior.
        Apostasy of the gospel is committed when a Cardinal or Bishops oppose the Mission of Christ and contradict the Will of the Father to save all mankind including the indigenous people of the Amazon. Read Misericordiae Vultus paragraph#12.
        The Antichrist or the false prophets will oppose Christ or the Mercy of God made flesh be given to all lost and wounded souls and will oppose the Wil of the Father.(1Timothy2:4)
        Read 1John2:22 to know the Truth.

  12. Chris dorf says:

    Does anybody have a problem with Mary appearing indigenous costume and Guadalupe Mexico? or like a Japanese woman in Akita Japan? or like a Rwandan woman in Kibeho Rwanda?

    Of course if Mary appears in Portugal as a European woman nobody has a problem so this just shows the prejudicial nationalism and tribalism and dare I say racism that is going on in the Western population.

    • DJR says:

      Our Lady did indeed appear to Saint Juan Diego as an Aztec princess.

      However, She did not appear in Akita, Japan. The alleged messages were given by locution and from the statue in the chapel where the seer worshipped, and that statue is the likeness of Our Lady of All Nations, which is an unapproved apparition that is alleged to have occurred in Holland in the 1940s and 1950s.

      In Kibeho, the main seer did state that the Blessed Virgin was not “white,” but she also stated that she could not determine the exact color of Our Lady’s skin. And Our Lady did not dress anything like a Rwandan woman. The seers themselves described the way She was dressed.

      At Portugal, although only three of the total six seers saw Our Lady (the others only saw apparitions of the angel), the final three never stated that Our Lady was in native dress, nor that She looked “European.” No women of Portugal dressed in the manner that Our Lady appeared at Fatima.

      What is actually Eurocentric and racist is the idea that the “natives” of the Amazon are somehow different from the “natives” of any other country.

      Never once, in all the apparitions of Our Lady, does She appear naked. It is absurd beyond belief that anyone would advocate that.

      When Catholics evangelize “native” people, they teach the “natives” to put their clothes on. The Church has done that in every era and every place.

      I’m not European, but I have a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in my home. She is fully clothed. How many of you are now going to start putting naked statues of Our Lady of the Amazon in your parish churches, your homes, and your schools?

      Are you seriously advocating that? Outrageous.

      The author of this article makes many unproven assumptions. Here’s one: “In this context, it is not strange that an image of Our Lady of the Amazon, created by the Amazonian people themselves…”

      How does the author know who created the image? If he does, can he tell us who made it?

      Another issue: Does the mere fact that the woman who spoke to the pope and stated something about Our Lady of the Amazon mean that the person(s) who created the image held that same understanding?

      Did all the other participants have that same understanding? How in the world does the author know? Did he ask them?

      I have no idea, one way or the other, what happened in that ceremony, but one thing is certain: Nothing the author has said is of any help in this matter. Most of it is based entirely on supposition. If anything, it adds to the “hermeneutic of suspicion.”

      I would like to see how many people who read this blog are now going to start advocating putting renditions of the Most Holy Virgin in our churches where She is depicted entirely naked.

      How many of you are going to do this?

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        That the statue is Our Lady of the Amazon is well-established, both by the native woman who presented the statue and by one of the priests that organized the event. That she is depicted as an indigenous woman, seems undeniable. The rest, if they are suppositions, they are at least more charitable than the suppositions thrown around by those who accuse the Amazonian people who did this.

        And no, I am not advocating a normalization of depictions of Our Lady naked. Because our churches were built in a culture with a different relationship with nakedness. But if the indigenous people are comfortable with nakedness and if they want to depict Our Lady as one of their own, people should get a hold on themselves instead of accusing them based on cultural assumptions they may not understand.

      • jong says:

        DJR
        The painting of the Last Judgement of Michaelangelo in the Sistine Chapel had a similar story with Amazon naked statue in terms of depicting nakedneess. A matured Christian has no malice looking into that art depiction. But, I think a Cardinal was scandalize by that. Let us remember nakedness before the fall of Adam & Eve was not a defilement nor shameful. Even Job said “naked I came into this world naked too will I return to my Maker”.

  13. Cfaucheux says:

    Here’s another thing that no one seems to be mentioning. I had never heard of Pachamama until this whole thing got rolling. But looking it up on Wikipedia at least, it seems to be an idol worshiped in the Andes, never mentioning the Amazon.

    Maybe the Wikipedia article isn’t comprehensive, but assuming it is, how likely would it even be for natives of the Amazon to be worshiping an Andean deity? Is Pachamama even present in indigenous pagan religions of the region?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I thought of that too, but the Amazon extends into Peru. That, and the fact that the indigenous people spoke Spanish made me be cautious about that statement. But you’re right. It is very unlikely that this is Pachamama. Most of the critics don’t even know anything about Pachamama, but they need a label to stick on this to make it pagan. If they could call it Aphrodite or Isis or Ishtar, they would.

  14. Coram Deo says:

    What’s with all this buzz, propping the liberals against the conservatives, pagans against Christians, blah blah blah? And why should anybody perform sound processing when we already have the official interpretation from the Vatican: it is not the Virgin Mary, it is not a pagan deity, but it is a syncretic representation of Life. Thus, both liberals and conservatives should be happy and stop this non-sense.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Thank you for not reading the post. We have no official interpretation from the Vatican. What you should be asking is, why keep discussing this when we already have the official interpretation of those who actually organized the ceremony?

  15. DJR says:

    “And no, I am not advocating a normalization of depictions of Our Lady naked. Because our churches were built in a culture with a different relationship with nakedness. But if the indigenous people are comfortable with nakedness and if they want to depict Our Lady as one of their own, people should get a hold on themselves instead of accusing them based on cultural assumptions they may not understand.”

    I post one last time to say the following.

    Aren’t the “indigenous people” involved here Catholics? Who cares if they are “indigenous”? What does that have to do with the fact that they are Catholic?

    The people who performed the ceremony in the Vatican gardens didn’t show up naked at the Vatican. Why did they purportedly depict Our Lady naked?

    Who cares if the Amazon culture includes nudity in some places? So does the culture of the U.S. in some places. Should we start having depictions of the Blessed Virgin in blue jeans?

    Outrageous.

    Catholics — I repeat, Catholics — do not, in any culture, display images of the Virgin Mother of God naked. Period. It doesn’t matter that these people are from the Amazon.

    It is an outrage that the author would countenance such a thing.

    Lastly, the author states that he does not advocate a normalization of naked statues of Our Lady. Well, isn’t that racist of him?

    Through the entire world we have images of Our Lady, and not one of them except this alleged “Our Lady of the Amazon” is completely naked. Not. A. Single. One.

    So, if this image is legitimate, why does the author not advocate for it to be spread throughout the world as a holy depiction of the Blessed Virgin of the Amazon?

    Are we going to spread devotion to Our Lady under every other title except this one? How racist can one be?

    This essay is one of the most shameful excuses for wrongdoing I have ever read, and it is obvious that the author himself does not believe what he is attempting to convince others to believe.

    If he did, he would have no problem with completely naked images of Our Lady, just like the alleged Lady of the Amazon.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      “Who cares?” I care. The Pope cares. The Church in communion with the Vicar of Christ cares.

      And Catholics – I repeat, Catholics – did represent Our Lady like so, because that’s what they are and that’s what they did.

      And I would have no problem if Americans depicted Our Lady in jeans. Better than having very beautiful images of the Blessed Mother, with lots of embroideries, and then using them to attack the Holy Father.

      As for the naked objections, they were addressed in my other article. Perhaps you would like to see some “shameful” depictions in many churches around the world with a bare-breasted Virgin Mary squirting milk into the mouth of a monk.

      One thing you got right though. This was the last time you made a comment here. Your gratuitous accusations of racism assured you of that. Good bye

  16. Faith says:

    It is amazing what an uproar there has been over this simple and beautiful image. Let’s trust our family; these Amazonian Catholics want to express their unity with the Church. It is interesting to watch the backlash… do we think we’re too good for them? Thank you, Pedro. Excellent article.

  17. Carolyn Schuster says:

    Sadly, the facilitators of the AS have OPENLY said this is NOT the Virgin Mary and they prayed FIRST to the spirit of the Amazon in this goddess. I can give you several quotes from participants and facilitators if you’d like. And worse, SHAMANISM was openly cited as a good thing and ceremonies were held. You simply cant get away from this truth. At such a critical time, allowing abominations like Amazon Synod approved banners demanding women priests and deacons (A synod member brought it)and photo of a mother nursing a dog and calling it Godly must be confronted. BTW, the Pope and the vatican already approved women deacons and FOUR of then are already in the deaconite. ALL the facts must be presented so people can draw reasoned conclusions.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Yes, please, give me those “several quotes” from *participants* of the event saying that it is not the Virgin Mary and that they prayed first to the spirit of the Amazon.

      Mind you, from *participants* of the event, as you said, not from people not participating in the event. Thank you

  18. Kenneth G Covington says:

    How do you interpret this? I would like a sincere and objective response, not based on preconceived notions either way.

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-communications-official-carved-figure-at-amazon-synod-not-virgin-mary-76253

  19. Pete Vickery says:

    Carn: For Chris Dorf to speak of the existence of racism and nationalism in the “Western population” is not a gratuitous accusation. He, like those of us who live in America (I speak for myself: I don’t know where Chris Dorf lives) have seen the rise of the alt-right, the KKK and other racist supporters of Donald Trump here in America. Many are also extreme nationalists. Unfortunately, many are Catholics. Calling Pedro a racist? That in my humble opinion qualifies as a gratuitous accusation. Unless you can actually give us proof of Pedro’s supposed racism. I haven’t seen any in all his articles, or Mike Lewis’ or anyone else who contributes here. Have you? If on the other hand you think what has been going on here in America with the rise of the alt-right ( which is also happening in other places in the world) is not racist and those that say it is are making gratuitous accusations (as you accuse Chris Dorf of) then I have to ask you – what planet are you living on?

    • carn says:

      I think you at WPI have a very general problem with assessing evidence.

      Chris Dorf says that the reaction to the image shows racisn.

      That argument were ONLY, ONLY, ONLY valid if someone had shown that no other explanation is possible.

      Cause otherwise we could not know whether its racism or the other option and hence, Chris Dorf could not state, that the reaction shows racism.

      As nobody has shown that it can’t be something else than racsim (e.g. serious concerns about possible idolatry), Chris Dorf statement is a gratuitous accusation.

      And I affirm that there is a problem with assessing evidence and drawing conclusions.

      Look at what i argued:

      Chris Dorf has inssufficient evidence to say the reaction to the discussed ceremony is racism.

      And what is your counter argument?

      That there are a lot of racists in the US and among catholics in the US.

      How could your argument ever disprove what i say?

      Even if US catholics were 100% clan members, this – very frightening – hypothetical fact could not show, that Chris Dorf had sufficient evidence to say that the reaction is racism.

      That there are racists in the US cannot show that the reaction to that naked woman statue is racism.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Can you direct me to the actual comment that Chris Dorf made on this article arguing about racismo?

      • carn says:

        I realy hope you understand this:

        There is some behavior A;

        someone says “behavior A shows racism”;

        and then me saying “A does not show racism”;

        then it is just beyond the pale of any reasonable counter-argument, if someone else then says: “carn how can you deny that there is racism?”

        That is just so – if i say that something does not show racism, then this is in no way a claim that there is no racism.

        E.g. some person of certain ethnicity gets murdered; someone says “this shows racism”; and someone else replies “not necessarily, cause the evidence leaves the possibility of a plain robbery due to greed”, then the latter does not in any way claim that there is no racism or that racism is never cause for a crime.

        So it would be just totally ridiculous if someone else replied “who can you deny there is racism?”

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I would really not like this combox to derail into this side discussion that is completely off-topic. If you can show me where Chris Dorf made the accusations of racism, please point them out, so that I can exert my function as a moderator and ascertain whether it was gratuitous or not and whether it merits any intervention from me or not. Other than that, please stick with the topic.

      • carn says:

        “Chris dorf October 14, 2019 at 11:32 am

        Does anybody have a problem with Mary appearing indigenous costume and Guadalupe Mexico? or like a Japanese woman in Akita Japan? or like a Rwandan woman in Kibeho Rwanda?

        Of course if Mary appears in Portugal as a European woman nobody has a problem so this just shows the prejudicial nationalism and tribalism and dare I say racism that is going on in the Western population.”

        “so this shows prejudicial nationalism and tribalism and dare I say racism”

        I see no other ointerpretation, than that the reaction to the whole issue is due to nationalism/tribalism/racism.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        So, you are saying that these two statements are equivalent?

        1. “Of course if Mary appears in Portugal as a European woman nobody has a problem so this just shows the prejudicial nationalism and tribalism and dare I say racism that is going on in the Western population”

        2. “Lastly the author states that he does not advocate normalization of naked statues of Our Lady. Well, isn’t that racist of him?”

        I think that a person that tends to overanalyze semantics so much could spot the difference. But let me try to illustrate with a different example:

        a) “What happened during the Church abuse crisis shows that the Church has a culture of enablement and dare I say, negligence, that allowed pedofilia to run rampant”

        b) “You are a liberal, so you are a pedophile!”

        The former does not acuse anyone. It talks generically about a certain behavior and then links it to a certain bad mentality. Of course, you only feel accused if you engage in that behavior. So, it’s easy, don’t engage in that behavior. But if you feel this is an unjust characterization, then you do not defend yourself, you try to prove that the link between the behavior and the bad mentality is faulty.

        The latter actually accuses someone of engaging in something evil. If that accusation is done without any evidence, it is a gratuitous accusation. A slander.

        And if such an accusation is leveled at one of the authors of a blog where the accuser has been graciously allowed to comment, he will be rightfully shut down.

      • carn says:

        @Pedro Gabriel

        I never suggested that the statements against you weren’t problematic.

        Just that based on the current information claiming that the reaction to the statue is due to racism is an accusation beyond what the evidence supports.

        That is according to your words as far as i can tell also your position, from the newest article comment section:

        “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.”

        You correctly note that based on the current evidence an alternative explanation instead of racism could be antagonism to the Pope. I think there are even further possibilities; but having one plausible explanation besides racism shows that the current evidence does not show that it must be racism, hence the accusation that is is racism is done without good reason, which seems to be synonym of gratuitous.

        And the reason why I spent words on that: there is little today that breaks down bridges and communication lines and possibilities for dialogue like calling the other side racist.

        The best recipe to get a schism I think is to claim as fact that beneath the criticism of Pope Francis there is only racism and nothing else.

  20. carn says:

    At least some Amazon synod officials seems to claim that the statue does not depict the virgin mary:
    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-communications-official-carved-figure-at-amazon-synod-not-virgin-mary-76253

    “Fr. Giacomo Costa, a communications official for the Amazon synod, said Wednesday a wooden figure of a nude pregnant woman, which has been present at events related to the synod, is not the Virgin Mary, but is instead a female figure representing life.

    “It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary?” Costa said Oct. 16 at a press conference for the Amazon synod, a meeting taking place in the Vatican Oct. 6-27 on the ministry of the Church in the region.”

    Apparently nobody cares what symbols are carried around and bowed to in Vatican and St. Peters.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      This article was already updated at the time you posted that

      • carn says:

        Let me correct my statement:

        Apparently spokesperson for the Synod do not care what symbols are carried around and bowed to in the Vatican and in St. Peters during official synod events.

        Fortunately, it does not depend on me, cause I would fire such spokesperson on the spot, cause it is according my personal and probably very absurd opinion their job and therefore to care about what is going on in official synod events, so that they are capable to answer stupid questions like “what did that thing mean?”

      • Phil19034 says:

        Where?

  21. Marie says:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has returned. How terribly sad that people can’t simply take people for who they are, and at their word . It’s not a pagan idol other than in our imaginations. Some are taking complete liberty in adding and omitting to push an agenda rather than be thrilled that our Holy Father is finding a way to reach out to those on the peripheries. Children of God; our brethren! Truly, God have mercy on us!

  22. Socrates says:

    In your update you are actually misreading the article. There are two people quoted. The first quote if from Fr. Giacomo Costa who said “It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary?” The quote you listed from Ruffini is a different quote about him trying to state who the statue could represent.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I also mention Fr. Costa. Besides that he says he has never seen the statue, and that he is going to gather more info from the organizers (which shows, as does his expression when he answers, that he does not know)

      • Socrates says:

        You are jumping to conclusions. The fact that Fr.Costa denied that the statue represents Mary is different from saying that they can’t officially say what it represents. They are two different statements.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        You are the one jumping to conclusions since it is pretty clear they did not “officially” say what it represents. They said they would gather more info and that we should ask for clarification from organizers of the event. Which already happened, as my piece shows

  23. Chris dorf says:

    If our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified naked … stripped for all to see to be humiliated… and we put clothes on Him in our statues and paintings… is that a pagan action because we cannot accept the reality of the situation?

  24. Brian says:

    I have 2, wonderful, elderly aunts, who are Franciscan Nuns. I have been blessed to have interactions with many of the good, holy, saintly, women in their order. My family has received what I consider to be true miracles, through their prayers.
    I was at an anniversary celebration for my aunt, who was celebrating 75 (!!!) years as a bride of Christ. Another sister was celebrating 25 years (or thereabouts) and had a prayer that she authored, read aloud. The thrust of it was that she thanked “mother-earth” in her prayer. There was literally nothing in this prayer that wasn’t new-age nonsense. Perhaps she was corrected by a superior later…I hope so. It would be charitable, in my opinion, if she was corrected. It would be un-charitable to allow her to persist in this error and perhaps spread it to others. Souls are at stake. I hope that Pope Francis, as a leader, is charitably correcting, perhaps in private, similar error. The church needs our fervent prayers and maybe our positive encouragement. Rabid, left/right criticism online is dividing us further I think. Thanks.

  25. George Bell says:

    Why would Fr. Giacomo Costa have said on 10/16/19 that the figure did not represent the Virgin Mary? The way he spoke about it, the statue was some benign figure which merely represented life. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-communications-official-carved-figure-at-amazon-synod-not-virgin-mary-76253

  26. CW says:

    Um. Why don’t you watch this to know who the REAL Our Lady of the Amazon is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Ckqi12mPA

  27. Phil19034 says:

    If this is supposed to be carving of the Blessed Mother, then it simply changes the heresy in the garden from Pagan Worship to Mary Worship. Regardless, what they were doing in the circle and the prostration they were doing was idolatry. If this statue was supposed to be Mary, then it doesn’t make it much better.

    HOWEVER, this totally conflicts with the Vatican saying it was NOT Mary.

  28. THOMAS J MOSSER says:

    While one can understand your making an argument for the “hermeneutic of suspicion”, yet have you considered the possibility that you’re approaching the situation in a “hermenutic of credulity”? For you seem to disregard the implications of myriad historical witnesses to the gradual sabotage of the Church by Freemasons and Modernists (many of which witnesses were popes, whom you claim to honor), ignoring the blatant “signs of the times” (Mt. 16:3) while desperately “sanitizing” the sophistry of characters who consistently promote novelties and whose lives are more a reflection of the world than of Christ.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Well, you could’ve made a better point regarding “hermeneutic of credulity” (which, on my essay I referred to as “hermeneutic of faith and charity”) if you didn’t follow it immediately with textbook conspiracy theory talking points. Yeah, I’m going to dismiss it.

      • THOMAS J MOSSER says:

        On whose authority are you calling those “textbook conspiracy theory talking points” – the secular media and government? Do you trust them more than popes and mystics, or even Our Lady of Good Success? To give the benefit of the doubt to a curia filled with men of questionable faith and integrity is not “faith and charity”, but rather more like saying “mountains, fall on us”, refusing to see the “signs of the times” for what they are.

  29. James Rinkevich says:

    Canon 1188 prohibits these from churches

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Of course you would need to prove (instead of assume) that the statues fulfill the conditions met on the Canon. In the end, the Supreme Legislator of Canon Law is the Pope and he seems to disagree with your interpretation

  30. Brilliant !

  31. Pedro Gabriel, I am most impressed by your brilliant article and I am grateful for how thorough and zealous you are in your defense of our beloved Pope Francis. I see the point of Thomas J Mosser above and while I agree with some of the historical references he is making, I do not believe that Pope Francis can be lumped together with Freemasons and modernists; His pastoral theology is much more deep and spiritual than he seems to be given credit for and I wish his critics would quit murmuring and let the Physician of the Lord do his job without jumping to hasty conclusions.

  32. Tara Tremuit says:

    I have never seen any Catholic prostrate himself before Our Lady of anywhere, have you, Pedro?
    Prostration is reserved to God alone. Prostration to anything or anyone else is idolatry.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I have seen many Protestants claim that Catholics were idolatrous because they knelt before Our Lady, so that kind of argument does not fly very well. What matters is whether those people were worshipping the statue as equal to God or not. You have no proof of that, except for externalities in which you project your own conceptions of what is appropriate or not unto a culture whose expressions you do not understand

    • Mike Lewis says:

      Are Russian Orthodox idolaters?

  33. Alicia Figueiredo says:

    Well wow. You’ve certainly written a lot of words disproving nothing. People are justifiably concerned. Did you miss the Vatican’s own communication official FOR the Synod deny the statue was our Lady. And if they can’t square the circle your mental gymnastics won’t either so people are justifiably concerned. The Vatican not the critics should get their acts together but under this Pope how can they?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Yes I missed the Vatican official declaration denying that it was Our Lady. What I saw was a declaration from the Vatican official saying it is a representation of life and DENYING it was pagan. Maybe you missed it.

      Since the critics are the ones who keep asserting that it was pagan idolatry, then by your own logic, they are the ones who should get their act together

  34. JP says:

    Pope Francis already called it the Pachamama. End of story.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      The Vatican spokesperson said that when the Pope referred to Pachamama, he was not identifying the statues with a goddess, but naming them as the Italian media has been naming them, so that everyone knew what he was talking about

      End of story

  35. Tim H says:

    I’m not sure its helpful in trying to be taken as an open learner to call a concern about a number of the things this Pope has said and done a “hermeneutic of skeptcism.” He doesnt seem to want to be clear about what he is doing or thinking when he does or says somewhat – you have to admit – provacative things. You can say we’re all a bunch of pharisees and Jesus is just calling us out. But many of us are honestly confused by this stuff. And he only seems to take offense at that or not respond.
    Based on a lack of clear answers on this and several other potentially scandalous appearing incidents, I just don’t get why you’re so confused about our confusion.
    If the pope goes to a public ritual that most people simply can’t recognize as overtly Christian, you’d think there would have been advance legwork and prep work to help the faithful understand what is going on. But we didn’t get here and in fact we almost never do get that.
    Let me an example from the US. If the pope were to attend a changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unkown soldier on Arlington National Cemetary. There would be no uncertainty about explaining what happened in the ceremony and what it means to Americans. Anyone who asked could quickly be told.
    Yiu could argue there’s no mechanism for the indigenous people to explain their ritual in clear and unambiguous terms that the Vatcan could quickly affirm. And maybe you’d be right. But that just means all the more so that someone somewhere in the Vatican needed to figure out an easy, quick, clear answer to what this ritual was.
    I’m sorry. You may have a large blog presence but if the Vatican has to rely on folks like you to explain what the heck that was and it’s still subject to interpretation based on a given translation, then can you not see that that in itself is a problem?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I can see a problem in people saying “we don’t have enough information about this so let’s rely on biased media hostile to the Pope and ignore every clarification coming from the official sources”

      We are not *owed* an explanation for everything that happens in the Vatican. If people don’t know, then they shouldn’t assume. Simple as that. We already have enough to busy ourselves in our daily lives to be good Christians.

  1. October 14, 2019
  2. October 17, 2019

    […] Gabriel’s ‘Our Lady of the Amazon, Pray for Us’ on wherepeteris.com is particularly valuable on this affair and should be read in full by anyone sincerely interested […]

  3. November 22, 2019

    […] ceremony performed at the Vatican. By Pedro Gabriel (Syncretism versus Inculturation) one, two, three, https://wherepeteris.com/our-lady-of-the-amazon-solving-the-contradictions/. Also read this […]

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