The Amazon Synod Has Begun, and Pandora’s Box Is Opened, by Julia Meloni

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By Julia Meloni, Crisis Magazine, October 10, 2019

Julia MeloniThe Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is off to an ominous start. Each day, as more bizarre, jarring, and revolutionary developments emerge, I keep coming back to a line from Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: “When the cardinals elected Bergoglio they did not know what a Pandora’s box they were opening.”

Shortly before the synod started, Pope Francis and Claudio Cardinal Hummes, the synod’s general relator, hosted a startling indigenous ceremony in the Vatican gardens. Led by a female native of the Amazon region, a group encircling a mandala bowed down before a statue of Pachamama—Mother Earth. A synod official didn’t identify the (apparently nude) statue as the Blessed Virgin Mary, but rather said the image was probably meant to represent “Mother Earth, fertility, woman, life.” An Amazonian tribal leader, meanwhile, said that the ceremony looked decidedly “pagan.”

Another rite of “indigenous mysticism” took place at a pre-synodal meeting of bishops gathered around Cardinal Hummes’s group, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), which organized both the Vatican gardens ceremony and the synod. One commentator claimed that the synodal fathers “expect the [ceremonial] broth to be hot enough to ingest, in a kind of communion with the Pachamama.” In August, at another preparatory meeting for the synod, a Colombian shaman “blessed” the religious present. ….