This Week: Pachamama and Other Scandals, by Phil Lawler

New Book Reveals Trump Has Watched Christian Television Since the 1980s, by Michael W. Chapman
October 26, 2019
Archbishop Gaenswein: Claim Benedict XVI Opened Path for Women Deacons ‘Totally Absurd’, by Edward Pentin
October 26, 2019

By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Oct. 25, 2019

Yet again the Amazon Synod—controversial though it is—has been bumped off the top place in our list of the week’s headline stories by a stunning and scandalous development at the Vatican. In fact, two stunning and scandalous developments. Or even more than that, depending on how you count the separate stories.

Very early Tuesday morning, two men entered the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, just down the street from St. Peter’s Square, and removed the Pachamama statutes that have been a focus of attention since before the start of the Synod. They proceeded to toss the statues in the river, then posted a videotape of their actions on the internet—prompting hearty applause from many Catholics who had seen the statues as pagan idols.

This nasty controversy might have been avoided, if Vatican officials had offered some reasonable explanation for the display of these statues. But they didn’t, and probably couldn’t. After early suggestions that the statues were primitive images of the Virgin Mary, Synod officials admitted that they were not. But what were they? Symbols of motherhood? The Pachamama is revered in some South American cultures a fertility goddess. So was this a pagan idol, being set before the altar of a Catholic church? That conclusion was hard to avoid, especially when photos circulated across cyberspace, showing people bowing down before these images during a ceremony that was held in the Vatican gardens—with Pope Francis in attendance. ….