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Pope Francis, Querida Amazonia, and radical chic Catholics

It appears that the Amazon Synod and its aftermath is widening the pre-existing gap between Pope Francis and certain American and European progressives.

Pope Francis drinks mate, the traditional Argentine herbal tea, before a session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican in this Oct. 15, 2019, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Like many others, I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of Querida Amazonia, which, if not without concerning features, is almost incomparably better than was widely expected. Greater reflection has, however, led me to think that the document—and the degree of mutual disenchantment which has developed between Pope Francis and elements of the ecclesial left in the months since the Amazon Synod—is in keeping with the history of Jorge Bergoglio rather than a departure from the established orientation of his pontificate.

By now it is well-known that then Father Bergoglio first attracted the attention of the Argentinian bishops and the Holy See as an opponent of Liberation Theology, and was advanced up through the hierarchy on the supposition that he was a more or less conservatively leaning cleric. Or at least what might (for lack of a better term) be called “centrist”—devoted to orthodoxy but somewhere between the “middle” and the “left-wing” of faithful Catholic opinion on prudential and disciplinary matters. The rapid dispelling of that image by Francis’s words and actions as pope led many Americans and Europeans to assume this agenda must more or less equate to that which is predominant within dissident “leftist Catholicism” in the Old World and the United States. In fact, however, it seems likely that Francis’s relationship to such forms of “leftist Catholicism” can be compared in ways to Benedict XVI’s relationship to traditionalists—he is largely sympathetic, sharing many instincts, interests, concerns and priorities, but is not a member of the club.

One of the more nuanced assessments of Francis’s positions on substantive theological and philosophical issues is to be found in Henry Sire’s The Dictator Pope. Whatever criticisms might be made of that book’s heavy reliance on anonymous sources and its reconstruction of “behind the scenes” events, its attempt the grapple with the existence of a variety of competing “left-wing” schools of thought is both more accurate and more helpful than the simplistic “left/right” divide found in some other works, and which implies too close of an alignment between the Holy Father and schools of thought with which he disagrees. One key to understanding the mind of Francis was succinctly summarized by Mr. Sire:

Bergoglio himself was a man of the people, and in Latin America ‘liberation theology’ was a movement of intellectuals from the higher classes, the counterpart of the radical chic that led the bourgeoisie in Europe to worship Sartre and Marcuse. With such attitudes Bergoglio had no sympathy…his instinct made him follow the populist line of Peronism, which…was more in line with the genuine working class.

It hardly need be said that American and European “leftist Catholicism” is pervaded by the radical chic tendencies long opposed by a pope who is not only indifferent to fashion but tends towards the opposite extreme of Philistinism. This can only serve to create some ambiguity in Francis’s relationship to “leftist Catholics” in our country and in Europe. To appoint Jesuit Father James Martin as a consultor to the Vatican Secretariat of Communications and to grant him an extended private audience does not equate to viewing attendance at the annual gala of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and appearing on the television shows of late night comedians as exemplary of priestly life.

Aside from their differing views of the world of fashionable elites, there are two major differences between Francis and “radical chic Catholics.” The first concerns their priorities. “Radical chic” Catholics may trumpet socialist economics but their practical focus is largely on fashionable left-wing “causes” having nothing to do with provision for the materially destitute—feminism, de facto sexual liberation, and so on. But it is provision for the materially destitute which Francis has a strong record of prioritizing, a fact that does not depend on whether his positions on how to aid the lower classes are prudent or ill-advised, helpful or ultimately harmful, in accord with or opposed to the traditional teachings of the Church.

The second major difference concerns attitudes to such fashionable “causes” as feminism and attacks on sexual morality. “Radical chic Catholics” are bent on having the Church formally declare that it was been wrong for two thousand years—that women can be ordained, that homosexual acts are morally permissible, that heterosexuals can engage in sexual intercourse with people to whom they are not validly married, and forth. Pope Francis, however, seems inclined to often obfuscate the pertinent Church teachings at the theoretical level and to mitigate them at the practical one without directly denying established formal teachings.

Desire for direct contradiction of Catholic teaching would have induced Francis to give questionable, or even heterodox, answers to the dubia concerning Amoris Laetitiae rather than leave the waters muddy through silence. After endorsing the Abu Dhabi document’s claim that God wills a diversity of religions, the pope, when pressed, told Bishop Athanasius Schneider that the statement in question is to be interpreted as referring to God’s permissive will rather than implying that God positively wants such diversity. Even Francis’s changes to Catechism on the topic of capital punishment are just ambiguous enough to allow for equivocation.

A similar approach can be seen in Francis’s handling of the question of the role of women in the Church. Proposed changes to the curia which would have removed delegated clerical authority from certain offices would have allowed the latter to be held by laity, and so allowed women to exercise de facto power over matters reserved to the clergy. But it still would have been necessary for women in such positions to have their decisions rubber stamped either by the pope or by a clergyman with the proper delegated clerical authority—which would have preserved the clergy’s de jure authority over such matters.

It appears that the Amazon Synod and its aftermath is widening the pre-existing gap between Pope Francis and “radical chic Catholics.” The latter were unambiguously bent upon using the synod as a vehicle to advance their standard agenda. The pope, however, has given strong indications that he truly intended the synod to focus on more narrow and limited issues quite specific to the Amazon and in accord with his preferred emphases. These are issues which, at least for the most part, it would be useful for the Church in that region to address—even if, perhaps, in a different way from that desired by Francis. It is likely enough that Francis was sympathetic to the broad inclinations behind some of the proposals which were made by “radical chic Catholics” in conjunction with the synod.

He may even have been sympathetic to, or at least open to, some of the proposals themselves, as was suggested recently by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, one of the six members of  the pope’s advisory Council of Cardinals. But there remains, nevertheless, good reason to believe he did not intend for the synod to address such matters and was frustrated and alienated by attempts to turn the synod to such purposes. He may even see the extreme nature of such proposals as pragmatically dangerous, as alienating more moderate Catholics who might otherwise have enthusiastically embraced his own synod goals.

One can only hope that recent events will lead the pope to work more closely with bishops and cardinals who, if not in the mold of the best appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XIV, are at least what I earlier termed “centrist,” recognizably Catholics rather than sharers in the ideology of such men as cardinals Reinhard Marx and Walter Kasper.


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About James Baresel 8 Articles
James Baresel is a freelance writer. He holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati.

37 Comments

  1. The Pontiff Francis stage-managed globally-televised idolatry in October 2019.

    In QA he exhorts Catholics that it’s possible for all Catholics to perform acts of idolatry, because we can say there was no idolatrous intent.

    This pontificate was ushered in by sex abuse coverup Cardinals like Danneels, liberating known coverup artists and convicted sex abusers such as Danneels and McCarrick and “Rev. Inzoli, making mockery of the 6th Commandment and doing double injustice against the families convulsed by sex abusing Bishops and priests.

    Now it culminates in the Pontiff Francis making mockery of the 1st Commandment, thinking he can do injustice even against God.

    We are called to be sheep of The Good Shepherd. We are not cattle for a society of episcopal frauds.

    Reality is what matters, and we must not debase ourselves by pretending reality is not happening. It’s beneath the dignity won for us by so great a price, the sacrifice of Our Savior, who is The Truth.

    • Well said, Chris In Maryland! Why, as this article seems to imply, should we be fascinated by the subtleties, nuances and shades of the “Dancing With The Stars – Bergoglio Edition” TV show we are having now in the Church under Pope Francis? Why should we be distracted in wonder by every hand gesture and political footwork of the Bergoglio Tango? Is it really that wonderful or just tragic?

      Should the Catholic Church be molded by a continuous roller coaster of great-hope-then-disappointment-then-repeat as in a family abuser style? Father Stravinskas, in a recent article here at CWR where he so accurately dissects Pope Francis recent Amazonia Exhortation, mentioned a “shouting match” that could be heard through the door in Cardinal Reinhard Marx ad limina visit with Francis. Were they really in total disagreement or just arguing about the timeline for the Protestantization of the Church, who would get the most credit for it and who is really in charge, or something totally different?

      The cold, hard fact is that Pope Francis has not stopped adapting the heinous distortions of Language and Reality known as Political Correctness and forcefully harnessing the Church to it. The corruption of Language is the corruption of Reality and vice versa. Why do we analyze the Church’s problems with political terminology like rightist, leftist, centrist, etc.? Did Jesus split hairs like that to cover up the saboteurs as legitimately “just thinking differently”? Every time you do that, you transfer the Church from a Spiritual Reality to a Political Ego-Worshipping Distortion. Also, why do we even say we are fighting a “culture” when we are in Reality fighting a Total Anti-Culture?

      We must resist Language Perversion in all aspects and everywhere, because it is the most basic key to enable evil and then turn around and call it good and “holy”. We must pray for the TRUE conversion to Jesus in Authentic Catholic Truth for Pope Francis, all the Clergy and all of us. When we dance with the devil, we are dancing with a Wolf that is just warming us up to devour us. Our language must be Truth, our lives must speak Reality and show CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY total submission only to God (Matthew 5:37). The Grace to make that possible is always available from God. We must ASK for it daily! That is TRUE Catholicism!!

  2. Yes, we must be concerned about violations of the first and sixth commandments, but we must also be concerned about violations of the eighth commandment. It has never been proven that idolatry took place in the Vatican Gardens on October 4, 2019. Those who claim that it did need to re-read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about rash judgment (nos. 2477-2478). St. John Paul II, in a homily given in Cochabamba, Bolivia on May 11, 1988, referred to “pachamama” as the ancestral name given to creation and the earth, which are the work of God and a reflection of divine Providence. See no. 10 in the homily: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/it/homilies/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19880511_cochabamba.html
    This article by Francisco Figueroa goes into papal perspectives on “pachamama” in more depth: https://ronconte.com/2019/12/11/what-do-our-holy-fathers-teach-about-the-pachamama/ The Catholic lawyer (and papal critic), Eric Giunta, provides some further insights here: https://ericsgiunta.wordpress.com/2019/11/07/my-last-word-on-the-fake-vatican-pachamama-idols-controversy/
    Pedro Gabrirel, M.D. provides some more helpful perspectives in this article: https://wherepeteris.com/our-lady-of-the-amazon-solving-the-contradictions/ Perhaps there could have been better communication about the meaning of the symbols used in the Vatican Garden prayer ceremony on Oct. 4, 2019. To simply label what took place as “idolatry” strikes me as rash judgment, which is forbidden by the eighth commandment.

    • Dr Fastiggi your defense of the Pontiff is virtuous, we should give him the benefit of the doubt when applicable. Although respectful adherence to the Roman Pontiff is not an act of faith in a person rather foremost a faithful recognition of the office [the canonical definition of that authority] instituted by Christ. Matters that are not strictly Magisterially binding are subject to reasoned assessment. You may interpret Pachamama veneration [it was called such by the Vatican] as you wish insofar as the Pope’s intent. Intent as you’re aware does not determine the morality of an act. And neither does an act necessarily determine a benign intent, which I’m inclined to believe was. Right reason however assesses the object of the act, which is veneration [worship] of an Idol. Whether Pope Francis did not intend idolatry the act itself speaks to idolatry in similar manner that having an affair outside of marriage however well intended between both parties remains immoral. Acts that are objectively manifest as illicit remain illicit despite intent. And certainly you’re aware of the wide scandal caused among the faithful, which is also addressed by canon law and the Catechism. It’s possible to make reference to native ritual, veneration of objects as having some cultural value. It’s entirely another matter to have a ceremonial procession chanting, gesticulating gleefully, offering prayers centered on a widely known Andean goddess of the Earth up to and in front of the main altar of St Peter’s Basilica.

      • You’re begging the question. How do you know the “object of the act” was the veneration of an idol? There is no such thing as an intrinsic act of idolatry just as there’s no physical object that is intrinsically an idol. A physical object is not an idol unless the object is believed to be a god or a representation of a god. An action is not idolatrous unless it’s intended to be the veneration of an idol. In both cases, one can’t say what is an idol or what is an act of idolatry until and unless one knows what the belief is about the supposed idol and what the intention is of the supposed idolater. Rituals, gestures, and symbols are all intentional, the “object” is determined by what they are referring to or intending. Intent doesn’t determine the morality of an act, but the morality of a ritual act is not what is disputed. The question is not the morality of an act but what does the act mean and to what does it refer?

        In itself, the statue is nothing more than a figure of a pregnant woman. It is a multivalent symbol in the Amazon, it can represent a goddess, it can represent Mother Earth, or it can represent the Virgin Mary. Bowing is also a multivalent gesture, it can mean different things depending on the intention of the person. So how do you prove that the figure is an idol and that the people were engaged in idolatry? Everything depends on knowing what the beliefs and the intentions of the participants were. You must provide evidence of a belief that the figure was a god figure, which would indicate an intention to venerate an idol. So do you have that evidence?

        These weren’t pagans that someone found in the middle of the jungle and shipped to Rome to demonstrate their ceremonies, they were Catholics. The woman on the video referred to the figure in her hands as “Our Lady of the Amazon”. That in itself is a refutation of the idolatry theory. We also know that these figures have been used to represent the general notion of Mother Earth. Again, that refutes the idolatry theory. What evidence do you have that anyone at that ceremony or anyone involved with REPAM had a belief that the figure represented a pre-Christian divinized goddess?

        On the contrary, the bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico relates how he asked a Bolivian indigenous person if Mother Earth (Pachamama) and Father Sun (Inti) were gods. The person replied that “those who have not received evangelization consider them gods; For those of us who have already been evangelized, they are not gods, but the best gifts of God.”

        Is that distinction not good enough for you that despite their deep connection to and veneration of “Mother Earth”, that they nevertheless know that they are creations of God and not gods? The concept of mother earth is also not lacking in Christian scripture. One can find it in Job, “naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I will go back again.” One can find it in the Psalms, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”

        So if you want to claim that there was idol worship going on at the Vatican you need to provide evidence that demonstrates idolatrous beliefs and intentions, evidence that doesn’t beg the question, evidence that overwhelms and cancels out the evidence to the contrary that the ceremony was indeed an enculturated Christian ceremony.

        • Brian what an act does determines the object of the act, for example sawing a limb off a tree. You’re reverting back to the intent as if there is some indeterminate object of the act. As someone in their skepticism, actually an unwillingness to accept reality for sake of defending their position continues to say How do you know Father that the man sawing the limb off the tree intended to saw the limb off the tree? There is the internal object of the will [the intent or form] what you’re referring to, and the external object of the will that determines the object of the act [the matter or materia circa quam]. Your quotes which reference cultural interpretation do not address the fact, what the act does. Examples of religious and laity prostrating before Pachamama in the Gardens, enshrinement procession of clergy, laity chanting toting a canoe with Pachamama into Saint Peter’s Basilica up to the main altar clearly makes a definitive statement of intent. We cannot parse reality to suit our disposition.

        • Mr. Brian Killian, your comment is a long exercise on constant contradictions, cunningly putting the burden of evidence on Father Peter Morello while you provide none for your refutations and even make some preposterous assertions about two Bible verses. I will not go through every single thing you said but only point out the outstanding points. You go through language contortions to defend the act of idolatry as not idolatrous, unless we have some “absolute” evidence, such as maybe an open, public, verbal confession of the sinful act, maybe a couple of human sacrifices, open mention of the goddess as greater than Christ, etc. The Wisdom of the Church has never ever required exhaustive, “absolute” evidence because by the time that all that comes to the surface, we all would have become idolaters (and that of course is the INTENTION).

          Jesus knew this and did not require absolute, in-your-face, gross evidence of sin: “… by their works you should know them”, (Matthew 7:16). Simple, because simple beats complicated, as complicated serves to confuse in order to disguise sin. You totally ignore the fact that that idol in the Vatican was not “Our Lady of the Amazon”, as she was correctly identified as Pachamama by the POPE HIMSELF. Kudos to him for that honesty! Calling Pachamama as another Virgin Mary is a total disrespect to the Virgin Mary, turning her into “Our Lady of Deception and Idolatry”.

          Your words referring to idols: “The person replied that “those who have not received evangelization consider them gods; For those of us who have already been evangelized, they are not gods, BUT THE BEST GIFTS OF GOD” [capitals mine], is indeed an idolatrous, double-minded statement by that Bolivian indigenous person, calling idols: “best gifts of God”. That is reflected in that those “Catholics” from the Amazon were not carrying a proper image of the Virgin Mary but an idol. Are we now “spiritually transgender” Catholics, being “legitimate” Catholics just because we imagine and say so?

          Even more, you totally disrespect the Bible by twisting that quote from the Book of Job. For 2,000 years all the Apostles, greatest Church Fathers and Bible scholars have NEVER accepted that verse as anything other than Job talking about his human biological mother and not some imaginary, sentimental, cruel deity that is so “sweet” that it is prompting mothers to abort their babies to give idolatrous glory to her and to “protect” her.

          As promoted by you and others, “Mother Earth” looks more and more like Mother Death. Also, your quote from Psalms is referring to God being the Absolute Sovereign over all the Earth not some reference to a secondary, auxiliary “god” or “goddess” that He put in charge of “manufacturing” human babies underground (that is a totally pagan belief).

          We don’t need to provide any evidence about what is self-evident idolatry, it is idolatry that needs to provide evidence of not being idolatrous, by truly repenting and then adoring, serving and obeying the TRUE God, and totally respecting His TRUE Doctrine, His TRUE Church and His TRUE Mother. That respect has to shine through in any form, way or manner of expression, language and cultural lifestyle. If not, it is simply despicable idolatry begging for false legitimacy, false “sanctity” and approval. Like all of our Holy Ancestors for 2,000 years, let’s just say: NO!!

        • Brian what an act does determines the object of the act, for example sawing a limb off a tree. You’re reverting back to the intent as if there is some indeterminate object of the act. As someone in their skepticism, actually an unwillingness to accept reality for sake of defending their position continues to say How do you know Father that the man sawing the limb off the tree intended to saw the limb off the tree? There is the internal object of the will [the intent or form] what you’re referring to, and the external object of the will that determines the object of the act [the matter or materia circa quam]. Your quotes which reference cultural interpretation do not address the fact, what the act does. Examples of religious and laity prostrating before Pachamama in the Gardens, enshrinement procession of clergy, laity chanting toting a canoe with Pachamama into Saint Peter’s Basilica up to the main altar clearly makes a definitive statement of intent. We cannot parse reality to suit our disposition.

          • Suppose a disciple of a syncretistic religion (that worships saints as gods together with other local gods) was in a cathedral kneeling in front of a statue of a saint or lighting a votive candle, or making some other gesture of veneration. You walk into the cathedral and see this person without knowing anything about him. How would you know, just by looking at him, if he was a Catholic venerating a saint or a syncretist worshiping a false god? You wouldn’t.

            You wouldn’t be able to tell unless you asked him what he was doing (revealing his intention). There is no externally recognizable act of idolatry because idolatry is necessarily an intention, like love or virtue.

            You see a politician give a homeless man twenty dollars. Was it charity or vainglory? Was he moved by pity or was he moved by a desire to look good on camera? We don’t know by observing his actions, we only know by his actual intentions. Yes, the object is indeterminate from the perspective of an outside observer.

            So once again, you are going to have to do more work than merely assuming that the pregnant woman was an idol (a pagan god) and that the gestures of the people in the ceremony was idolatry. Everything we know about the ceremony, the people, their intentions, demonstrate the absurdity and the falsity of the “idolatry” hypothesis.

          • Most crimes require general intent, meaning that the prosecution must prove only that the accused meant to do an act prohibited by law. Whether the defendant intended the act’s result is irrelevant. Example: A state’s law defines battery as “intentional and harmful physical contact with another person.” This terminology makes battery a general intent crime. The intent element is satisfied if the defendant intends to cause harmful physical contact and actually causes it—it doesn’t matter whether the defendant actually intended to hurt or seriously injure the victim (Nolo). Nolo is an assoc of criminal defense attorneys Nolo Latin for I do not intend. Among the very best analyses of responsibility and or lack is within the legal system reaching back to English criminal law, the Roman Codex. When meeting justice the greatest ethical minds such as Blackstone Britain Scalia US fine tune our perception of justice and responsibility. If you perform an act despite the benevolent intention [he did not intend to practice idolatry rather promote ecological concern] which I grant the Pontiff, guilt can be justly adjudicated on the basis of the consequences of the act. We must be responsible for what we do.

    • Nevertheless, in late 1997, St. Pope John Paul II convened a (combined) Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops (exhortation Jan. 22, 1999), so in Amazonia why did the at-least ambiguous Pachamama upstage Our Lady of Guadalupe?

    • It certainly is not a rash judgment to identify the act of bowing to an Amazon idol/symbol of fertility, or even extrapolate the fertility figure to encompass “earth properties”. The Pope’s presence and participation during this celebration in the Vatican Gardens was a travesty and abomination. Then to add insult to injury the idol was placed in a Catholic Church, perhaps in proximity to the Eucharist?? How many missionaries/martyrs have given their lives to educate native peoples the errors of idol veneration / worship?

  3. “St. John Paul II, in a homily given in Cochabamba, Bolivia on May 11, 1988, referred to “pachamama” as the ancestral name given to creation and the earth, which are the work of God and a reflection of divine Providence.”

    Mmmm. Can you provide me with video from when Pope John Paul II gave that homily that compares to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6P39XswlzI&feature=youtu.be&t=670

    Did the Italian Bishops’ Conference pubish a prayer to Pachamama in 1988? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157774405569433&set=a.10150409603709433&type=3&theater (the bishops’s site has pulled the page by now)

    Also, all kinds of pagan religions had names given to creation and the earth, which are the work of God and a reflection of divine Providence. If that’s the best they knew – or know – that’s one thing. It doesn’t follow that Catholics, or even Christians in general, should be participating in ceremonies involving those things.

    From one of your links: “I cannot find any scholarly or other documentation that “Pachamama,” an Andean deity, is commonly worshiped by non-Christians in the Amazon.”

    Oh, yes? Then why was there a Pachamama statue (and I remind you that Pope Francis called it that) at something that was related to the Pan-Amazonic synod?
    And my, but Mr. Giunta is snide.

    From Dr. Gabriel’s article:

    “Earlier today, it has been reported on Twitter that Ruffini issued a “definite answer”:

    “No prostrations or rituals were performed. We must all be rigorous in telling things that have happened in front of the cameras.””

    No? I just watched the video. Kneeling and then lowering one’s forehead to the ground in a circle around the statue is prostration.

    From the same link, Brother Afonso Murad said, “Among them, there were three female silhouettes of an indigenous pregnant woman that symbolized the Earth that takes care of us, and also the indigenous peoples. … Therefore it was simply a religious symbol among many that are present in that church for those who want to see it. Therefore, this act was an act of violence, of disrespect and therefore cannot be approved by any of us. Would you like it if someone went to your church and took any of your religious symbols, be it a candle, or a cloth, would you like it? Of course not.”

    Actually, if somebody put a statue that represented, say, Terra (the Roman name fo Gaia) and the indigenous peoples of Italy, or Greece, or anywhere else in the world, in my church, I would most definitely salute anybody who took it out of the church. I wouldn’t want it thrown in the river, however; I’d want it burnt.

    Someone else said it was “Our Lady of the Amazon.” How very exceedingly odd that they can’t even get their stories straight.

    “In other words, at least some of the natives look to this figure and attribute a Marian connotation to it.”

    And some of them, in fact possibly many of them, don’t.

    “And we know that at least one of those natives was the woman who presided over the St. Francis Day activity in the Vatican Gardens.”

    And that brings me to another question: Why was a woman presiding over the “activity?”

    “For me, I cannot imagine how Monday’s act of disrespect for indigenous culture by people who proclaim themselves to be the mouthpieces of true Catholicism will open the hearts of the natives who brought that image as a symbol of their values”

    Mmmmm, yeah, how dare St. Boniface have cut down that tree? *So* disrespectful of indigenous culture, of an image that was a symbol of their values.

    “Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope used the word as a means to identify the statues because that is the way they have become known in the Italian media and not as a reference to the goddess.”

    Yet another example of the necessity of explaining, or explaining away, something that has been said.

    • Dear Leslie,

      The burden of proof is on you to prove that idolatry took place. That you have not done. You assume what you need to prove.

      • The burden of proof is on you to prove that I said idolatry took place. That you have not done. You assume what you need to prove.

        Tell me, will you at a very minimum admit that kneeling around a representation of the planet earth (which is what that painted cloth appears to be) and a statue that very likely (I’m being generous and not saying “almost certainly”) represents an earth goddess, bringing offerings, and bowing to the ground in worship, are actions very open to interpretation as idolatry?

        I do not speak whatever language it is in which they were chanting or praying. Can you provide me with a translation?

        • Dear Leslie,
          Thank you for your follow-up comments. Here is the Vatican Press Release from Oct. 1, 2019 explaining the prayer service that would take place in the Vatican Gardens on October 4: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/10/01/191001b.html
          The ceremony was profoundly Catholic. The representative of REPAM recited a prayer of consecration of the Amazon Synod to St. Francis of Assisi. Cardinal Turkson (in Italian) spoke of the shared commitment of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew to the care of the earth, our common home. Cardinal Humes (speaking in Portuguese) highlighted the importance of St. Francis of Assisi as the patron saint of ecology, and he then recited the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi in Italian. A religious sister gave some reflections in Spanish, and she recited a passage from the prophet, Jeremiah. Another speaker (in Italian) referred to the Canticle of Creatures of St. Francis of Assisi and then recited Psalm 148, which bears a resemblance to St. Francis’s Canticle. There is an important explanation around 6:13 into the video of the ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wioisaIU2I . A Franciscan friar (in Italian) explains that the instruments displayed on the circular mat are symbols of water, earth, seeds, and martyrs. He then switches into Spanish. The brief bowing to the symbols displayed on the mat can easily be understood as a gesture of prayer asking God to bless the upcoming synod. I could not make out the words of the song they were singing. Those who claim this was a pagan incanatation, though, need to provide evidence (which they have not done). When the representatives from the Amazon bestow symbols from the Amazon to Pope Francis they make the sign of the cross. One of the women bows before the Holy Father. (Was she worshipping him as an idol?). The woman who presents the wooden statue to Pope Francis refers to the image as “Our Lady of the Amazon” as Dr. Pedro Gabriel explains: https://wherepeteris.com/our-lady-of-the-amazon-pray-for-us/
          A large part of the ceremony was bringing portions of soil to the tree being planted with accompanying explanations of what these portions of the earth represent (all of them profoundly Christian). The ceremony ends with the singing of the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi and the Pope Francis reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish. This was a deeply Catholic prayer service. The claim that a pagan ceremony was somehow inserted into such a Catholic prayer service strains credulity. The postings above by Brian Killian are well worth reading. Bows and prostrations can take on different meanings. St. John Paul II was known to bow down and kiss the earth when he first set foot in a country on an apostolic visit. Was he worshipping the earth? To accuse the Pope and the Holy See of sponsoring or endorsing a pagan ceremony is so serious that those who make such an accustion better provide evidence. The only “evidence” I’ve seen so far is grounded in subjective impressions motivated it seems by distrust and hostility towards Pope Francis. Referring to what took place on October 4, 2019 as idol worship without any real evidence strikes me as a grave violation of justice, charity, and the eighth commandment. I am sorry to be so blunt, but I believe it’s important to warn people of the serious spiritual implications of such unfounded and grave accusations against the Roman Pontiff.

          • Dear Dr Fastiggi as you honor the Roman Pontiff others also have deep respect for him and cherish the Chair of Peter instituted by Christ. We also recognize the purview of that sacred authority and its limits. “When the Pope thinks it is God who is thinking in him” (Louis Veuillot). Veuillot a staunch Catholic believed anything said, likely also done by a Roman Pontiff was consequently sacred. That of course as I’m confidant you agree is untrue. It’s not necessary to recount history on that matter with you because the evidence of that untruth is clear. Nevertheless there is a tendency for some of us today to follow what 18th century French journalist Louis Veuillot professed, a form of Ultramontanism that defends anything Pope Francis says or does as inspired by God. For those of us who question the events at the Vatican discussed here you find it “important to warn people of the serious spiritual implications of such unfounded and grave accusations against the Roman Pontiff”. Perhaps some remarks made were untoward. Though not all spoke disrespectfully. Though most were concerned, even distressed by events. I would only ask that you consider that there may be justification for concern.

          • Thank you for the information.

            You didn’t answer this question: “Tell me, will you at a very minimum admit that kneeling around a representation of the planet earth (which is what that painted cloth appears to be) and a statue that very likely (I’m being generous and not saying “almost certainly”) represents an earth goddess, bringing offerings, and bowing to the ground in worship, are actions very open to interpretation as idolatry?”

            At best, I consider the whole thing to have been inadvisable.

            “To accuse the Pope and the Holy See of sponsoring or endorsing a pagan ceremony is so serious that those who make such an accustion better provide evidence.”

            Or one could be considering them to be innocent dupes.

            “The only “evidence” I’ve seen so far is grounded in subjective impressions motivated it seems by distrust and hostility towards Pope Francis.”

            And what would be the grounds for people to have distrust towards Pope Francis?

  4. Dear Fr. Morello,
    Thank you for your gracious note. All I can ask is that you and others read the articles to which I provided the links. You assume the wooden statues were idols, but that’s not at all certain. In the article by Eric Giunta he explains that “Pachamama” has a different meaning in the Andes than in the Amazon. In his May 11, 1988 homily in Bolivia, St. John Paul II provided a benevolent understanding of “Pachamama.” I agree that a good intention does not change the status of an objectively immoral act like adultery. The question, though, is whether what took place in the Vatican Gardens or in the processions you mention were actual acts of idolatry. I think there are far more benevolent explanations available. Oremus pro invicem.

    • “…. , but that’s not at all certain.”

      And, unfortunately, that is all too often the best we get with this pontificate: it’s not certain and it’s not clear, and people are confused, but let’s give the benefit of the doubt and hope everything is mostly good, at least some times, in some places, in some ways.

      • Dear Carl,

        It’s not all certain that your cynical view of this pontificate is correct. I am far less confused than you are.

        • Heh. Maybe. But I’m not confused. Knowing there is confusion is not the same as being confused. You know that. And if you read CWR at all, you know that I understand this pontificate fairly well. And calling a spade is spade is not cynicism. Those sort of rhetorical games don’t fly with me.

          • Dear Carl,

            Thank you for your clarification. I am sorry if anything I said was offensive, but there seemed to a cynical tone in your comments about this pontificate. I am sure you believe you understand Pope Francis fairly well, but I’ve learned to trust my own understanding of what the Holy Father says and does. I actually believe some of the confusion is generated by certain people and groups who take an overly critical vew of Pope Francis.

          • “I am sure you believe you understand Pope Francis fairly well, but I’ve learned to trust my own understanding of what the Holy Father says and does. ”

            You realize, don’t you, that Mr. Olson’s response could very easily be “I am sure you believe you understand Pope Francis fairly well, but I’ve learned to trust my own understanding of what the Holy Father says and does.”

          • Carl,

            Last I checked you have never accused the Holy Father of being a heretic yet Giunta has made that accusation and as far as I know stands by it.

            Yet he also believes this Pachamama nonsense is “Pizza Gate for Traditionalists”. Thus it is not either/or. It is possible to have a maximally negative view of the Pope personally and of his reign in general and believe this Pachamama nonsense is in fact nonsense.

            It is not either/or.

    • We read: ” In the article by Eric Giunta he explains that ‘Pachamama’ has a different meaning in the Andes than in the Amazon.” Right on! Maybe yours is precisely the point…

      The disunity of multiple identities, as in polytheism (pick one, or another, or all of the above). The theology of the split personality. I wonder if hell is just such entropy of the entire self-dissolving universe, both material and spiritual. But, while thusly to be disintegrated we are still to be self-consciously aware, for all eternity, of our free-fall descent or the Fall.

      The featureless, ambiguous and leveling “knowledge” (in Hebrew: both cerebral and experienced) of good and evil. What the hell, my eyes are opened and it’s all the same; I’m in charge! The hell of being self-conscious of nothingness. “We are legion!” Pachamama: the cross-cultural equivalent to post-modern “whatever.”

      The burden of proof? Cute mind game. The burden of proof is to at least NOT give scandal. (St. Paul had that convenient mind-trap figured out even with regard to dietary customs.) But, today, the genuflected tolerance of an ambiguous Pachamama, plus an ambiguous (?) Bolivian hammer-and-sickle crucifix, plus at the Youth Synod, replacing the Shepherds staff a Wiccan stang. Connect these dots of cumulative, off-the-cuff ambiguity. Not heresy, but not unifying either, as in monotheism.

      Wake up and smell the coffee (or whatever). Finally, maybe the Germans and their self-destructed “synodal path” unwittingly blew the lid off, and surely Pope Francis has the right stuff and is now rising to the occasion.

      • I can tell you something personal about Eric Giunta in that he openly believes Pope Francis is a heretic and he supports the April 30th letter signed by 19 theologians accusing the Holy Father of heresy. So strong is this opinion on his part he unfriended me on FB in an argument over it…and yet on this Pachamama nonsense he called it “Pizza Gate” for pseudo Traditionalist Catholics. He has made IMHO a strong case against this idolatry nonsense. I am amazed by the either/or mentality here.

        So let me enlighten the lot of ya. It is possible to believe these charges of idolatry against the Pope are bogus and STILL have a maximum negative view of Francis’ reign.

  5. While I am at it.

    Yes that business about the Italian Bishops “publishing” a prayer to Pachamama. I have something to say about that and I will be harsh as harsh as my ancestors where to the English at the battle of Sterling Bridge.
    I call BS! I read the actual publication. I read what was written on the page above this “Pacahamama prayer”. Here is a rough translation from my Italian American Wife Rosemarie.
    Quote”What can we do to spread the defense of indigenous peoples?
    Many missionaries of the Catholic Church and evangelical churches are present and engaged in the defense of the Amazonian people. Invite someone to hear their testimony.
    Watch, along with others, a film or a documentary that tells the struggles of the peoples of the Amazon.
    Document and read a few books or articles.
    You may exhibit photos and information at the gates of your church or in some public place that show the reality of the Amazon and the peoples that live there.”END QUOTE.
    So all they are doing here is citing this prayer as “testimony” from the Indigenous peoples as to the damage the west is supposedly doing to their environment? Or as to their suffering or plight. Now I am no bunny hugger nor do I believe at all in Man made global warming. Nor do I buy into most environmentalist drivel.
    But nowhere does this say Catholics should pray this prayer or incorporate it into their liturgy or let pagan converts to the Faith continue to pray it. To hear these reactionaries you would think the Italian bishops have issued prayer books or missals instructing us to pray to Pachamama. But that is not what we see here. This is just a missionary magazine like CATHOLIC NEAR EAST or whatever showcasing some local culture. Nothing more. At this point I must question the moral integrity of the people posting this drivel. It is slander and a mortal sin!

    • It was Stirling Bridge.

      There was no reason at all for that prayer to be included; it doesn’t say anything about the damage anybody is supposedly doing to the environment (and like you, I don’t believe at all in man-made global warning or the other environmental drivel). It is a prayer to Pachamama, and looks exactly like the other two prayers (so-called) included in the booklet; all three are headed “Prayer.” Not until the end does it mentions that it’s a prayer of the Inca to Mother Earth.

      One of those prayers is superficially Christian, at least: the one on page 11. Unfortunately, it includes lines like

      “Give us the grace to feel intimately united with all that exists”

      Ummmm, no, that’s not what we’re supposed to feel. And,

      “The poor and the earth are shouting: Lord, take us with your power and your light, to protect every life…” etc.

      The earth isn’t shouting anything.

      One of them, on p. 27, isn’t actually a prayer; rather, it is a cloyingly gloppy poem that isn’t addressing God at all, as far as I can tell:

      “Take a smile, give it to those who have never had it
      Take a ray of sunshine, make it fly where the night reigns
      Discover a spring, make those who live in mud bathe
      Take a tear, pass it on the face of those who have never cried
      Take the courage put it in the soul of those who cannot fight
      Discover life, tell it to those who cannot understand it
      Take hope and live in its light
      Take the goodness and give it to those who cannot give
      Discover love and make it known to the world.”

      They also throw in a bit of special pleading for lay-directed communities and for the ordination of married men.

      https://cloud.3dissue.com/77366/77720/110027/Sussidi-Amazzonia/index.html?r=22

      It’s not slander, and it’s not a mortal sin, for me to point out that the Conference of Italian Bishops printed a booklet that has a prayer to Pachamama in it. It’s true.

      • >It was Stirling Bridge.

        That’s what I said lassie & the Radtrads will go down harder than proud King Eddie.

        >There was no reason at all for that prayer to be included; it doesn’t say anything about the damage anybody is supposedly doing to the environment.

        Says who? I translated the text above the prayer on page 17. It says what it says””What can we do to spread the defense of indigenous peoples? Many missionaries of the Catholic Church and evangelical churches are present and engaged in the defense of the Amazonian people. Invite someone to hear their testimony. Watch, along with others, a film or a documentary that tells the struggles of the peoples of the Amazon. ”

        Exploitation of the Indigenous was the theme. Page 8 talks about “integral ecology”. That was obvious & it was all threw out the little pamphlet. The inclusion of the prayer was just bellow the text I translated above calling on people to the “defense of indigenous peoples” (defend them from what? Damaging their environment. Duh! ) & hearing them etc etc and all that bunny hugging drivel. Are you saying it is not about environmentalism?
        Have ye not been paying attention? That is all we heard about during the Synod? That is like saying “Justification was never discussed during the Council of Trent”. Seriously? What are they suppose to be defending these people against?

        Anyway is it clear, citing the prayer is suppose to be their “testimony” of their “suffering” nothing more. Nothing in the magazine is telling us to pray this prayer or worship pagan gods. Context is everything and that was the context. Am I suppose to conclude St Luke was a pagan and so was the book of Acts for quoting the locals chanting “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”? Well the context was reporting local pagans protesting Paul not St Luke endorsing the worship of a heathen Goddess. Nor does St Paul endorse every pagan poet’s erroneous opinions by citing a pagan poet “In Him we move and Have Our Being”.

        To hear the radtrads tell it you would think the Italian Bishops printed this prayer in the Breviary or spliced it into Hymnals for liturgical use. Sorry but I have read pagan prayers quoted in Catholic Missionary magazines as a showcase of the local religiosity. That is all it is & nothing more. There is nothing wrong with that but misreporting it and taking advantage of people who don’t read Italian (or have access to persons who read Italian) to spread unjust suspicion of the Pope is vile.

        Also it makes principled criticism of this Pope & the legitimate problems of his reign that much harder with the principled critics being lumped in with the wackos who smear him.

        >It is a prayer to Pachamama, and looks exactly like the other two prayers (so-called) included in the booklet; all three are headed “Prayer.” Not until the end does it mentions that it’s a prayer of the Inca to Mother Earth.

        Of course it is a prayer to Pachamama used by the Incas and in other news water is wet. I never said otherwise. Go back and re-read what I wrote. Primary sources my dear. Context my dear. Saying “The Italian Bishops published a prayer to Pachamama” is as misleading as is saying the Publishers of the Douay published a prayer to the heathen goddess Diana(Artemus’ name translated into Latin in case you are confused).

        > and looks exactly like the other two prayers (so-called) included in the booklet; all three are headed “Prayer.”
        ……One of those prayers is superficially Christian, at least: the one on page 11. Unfortunately, it includes lines like

        Stop defecting. The issue is the charge of the “Italians bishops publishing a prayer to Pachamama”. That charge is bogus or at best is the fallacy of equivocation like charging the Douay with “publishing a prayer to Diana/Artemus”.

        This pamphlet is a gaudy missionary magazine ripe with pastel colors like CATHOLIC NEAR EAST and in context that is what the citing of the prayer meant. “Hearing the cry of the Indigenous” or whatever. It is not an advocation of paganism or syncriticism.

        >on p. 27, isn’t actually a prayer; rather, it is a cloyingly gloppy poem that isn’t addressing God at all, as far as I can tell:

        Who cares about the Hippie dippy crap in this magazine or their call for married Priests (which is not heresy BTW) which the Pope shot down anyway(not that you lot are greatful)? The issue is the slander of Idolatry. If you expect a defense of Enviromental wackoness you will no get it from me.

        >It’s not slander, and it’s not a mortal sin, for me to point out that the Conference of Italian Bishops printed a booklet that has a prayer to Pachamama in it. It’s true.

        It clearly is a slander. If you my dear published Catholic Bibles & I went around saying “Leslie published prayers to Greek Heathen goddesses” well…..that is technically true. You publish Bibles. The book of Acts cites the pagans praying to their false goddess but without that context if I did that I might give people the impression you are an idolator and pagan. Which would make me morally a slanderer. How is this any different?

        So it is wicked (and shame on people who do that) & my opinion here is unchanged. Principled Criticism. Without it not only do ye not fix any of the problems Pope Francis causes but you help him cause more.

        Just saying….

        • >It was Stirling Bridge.

          “That’s what I said lassie & the Radtrads will go down harder than proud King Eddie.”

          No, you wrote “Sterling.” And whoopty thrills. It was one battle; there were some won and some lost on both sides over the centuries. Edward I wasn’t at Stirling Bridge, in any case; he was at Falkirk the next year, and won; and he captured Stirling Castle in 1304.

          >There was no reason at all for that prayer to be included; it doesn’t say anything about the damage anybody is supposedly doing to the environment.

          “Says who? I translated the text above the prayer on page 17. . . Anyway is it clear, citing the prayer is suppose to be their “testimony” of their “suffering” nothing more. “

          I say so. I was discussing the prayer, not the text above it. The prayer itself has nothing at all to do with the damage anybody is supposedly doing to the environment. It does not provide “testimony” of anybody’s “suffering.” It was unnecessary.

          “Nothing in the magazine is telling us to pray this prayer or worship pagan gods. Context is everything and that was the context.”

          Mmmmm. And people bowing down and making offerings in a circle around statues of Pachamama is a heck of a context. In any event, what I said was that the Italian bishops published a prayer to Pachamama. I did not say that they told us to pray it or to worship pagan gods.

          I find it rather ironic that some people are saying, “But those couldn’t have been statues of Pachamama! She’s not an Amazonian goddess!” while others with the same agenda are printing prayers to Pachamama in a booklet about Amazonia.

          “Am I suppose to conclude St Luke was a pagan and so was the book of Acts for quoting the locals chanting “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”? “

          The cases are hardly parallel. The booklet published by the Italian bishops does not say that the locals were angry with the preaching of Christians and so were chanting this prayer. They just labeled it “Prayer.” And where did I accuse the bishops of being pagans?

          “Well the context was reporting local pagans protesting Paul not St Luke endorsing the worship of a heathen Goddess. Nor does St Paul endorse every pagan poet’s erroneous opinions by citing a pagan poet “In Him we move and Have Our Being”. “

          Nor did I say that St. Luke or St. Paul endorsed such things.

          “To hear the radtrads tell it you would think the Italian Bishops printed this prayer in the Breviary or spliced it into Hymnals for liturgical use.“

          I said that they printed a prayer to Pachamama in a booklet. I did not say they printed it in the Breviary or spliced it into hymnals.

          “Sorry but I have read pagan prayers quoted in Catholic Missionary magazines as a showcase of the local religiosity. That is all it is & nothing more. “

          Was the publication of those any of those pagan prayers followed closely by a ceremony which was open to interpretation of worship of the pagan deity in question?

          “There is nothing wrong with that but misreporting it and taking advantage of people who don’t read Italian (or have access to persons who read Italian) to spread unjust suspicion of the Pope is vile.”

          I do not see how it is spreading unjust suspicion of the Pope to report on something that the Italian bishops printed any more than it is spreading unjust suspicion of the Pope to report on the shenanigans of the German bishops’ conference.

          “Also it makes principled criticism of this Pope & the legitimate problems of his reign that much harder with the principled critics being lumped in with the wackos who smear him.”

          One principled criticism of this pope and the legitimate problems of his reign is that confusion and uncertainty abound.

          >It is a prayer to Pachamama, and looks exactly like the other two prayers (so-called) included in the booklet; all three are headed “Prayer.” Not until the end does it mentions that it’s a prayer of the Inca to Mother Earth.

          “Of course it is a prayer to Pachamama used by the Incas and in other news water is wet. I never said otherwise.“

          No, you simply accused people who said that a prayer to Pachamama was published by the Italian bishops’ conference of slander and mortal sin.

          “Go back and re-read what I wrote. “

          Once was far more than enough; you’re not worth reading twice. You agree that it is a prayer to Pachamama. You agree that it is in a booklet published by the Italian bishops. Then you accuse anyone who says so of slander and mortal sin.

          “Primary sources my dear. Context my dear. Saying “The Italian Bishops published a prayer to Pachamama” is as misleading as is saying the Publishers of the Douay published a prayer to the heathen goddess Diana(Artemus’ name translated into Latin in case you are confused).

          Artemis, not Artemus. No, I’m not in the least confused. It is not misleading to anyone with even as few as two contiguous functioning brain cells.

          > and looks exactly like the other two prayers (so-called) included in the booklet; all three are headed “Prayer.”
……One of those prayers is superficially Christian, at least: the one on page 11. Unfortunately, it includes lines like

          “Stop defecting. “

          Defecting from what? What are you talking about? I was simply reporting what the three prayers included in the booklet were.

          “The issue is the charge of the ‘Italians bishops publishing a prayer to Pachamama.’ That charge is bogus”

          It’s not a charge, it’s a simple statement of fact. They did publish a prayer to Pachamama.

          “or at best is the fallacy of equivocation like charging the Douay with “publishing a prayer to Diana/Artemus”.

          The fallacy of equivocation involves switching the meaning of a term or phrase in the middle of an argument. For which term or word did I use two different meanings?

          “This pamphlet is a gaudy missionary magazine ripe with pastel colors like CATHOLIC NEAR EAST and in context that is what the citing of the prayer meant. “Hearing the cry of the Indigenous” or whatever. It is not an advocation of paganism or syncriticism.”

          Do learn to spell. It’s “syncreticism.” I have not accused them of advocating paganism or syncreticism.

          >on p. 27, isn’t actually a prayer; rather, it is a cloyingly gloppy poem that isn’t addressing God at all, as far as I can tell:

          “Who cares about the Hippie dippy crap in this magazine or their call for married Priests (which is not heresy BTW) which the Pope shot down anyway(not that you lot are greatful)? The issue is the slander of Idolatry. If you expect a defense of Enviromental wackoness you will no get it from me.”

          You’re the one who is wailing that context is the be-all and end-all of everything. I provided a description of the other things in the magazine that were headed “Prayer.” I’m not sure whom you mean by “you lot,” but I am very grateful that Pope Francis did not succumb to those who were urging lay-led parishes and married priests. And what gives you the idea that I expect a defense of environmental “wackoness” from you?

          >It’s not slander, and it’s not a mortal sin, for me to point out that the Conference of Italian Bishops printed a booklet that has a prayer to Pachamama in it. It’s true.

          “It clearly is a slander.”

          It is not a slander; it is a clear statement of fact. They printed a booklet. It has a prayer to Pachamama in it.

          “If you my dear published Catholic Bibles & I went around saying “Leslie published prayers to Greek Heathen goddesses” well…..that is technically true. You publish Bibles. The book of Acts cites the pagans praying to their false goddess but without that context if I did that I might give people the impression you are an idolator and pagan. Which would make me morally a slanderer. How is this any different?””

          If you said such a thing, I would expect that people to whom you said it would look at what was published and see whether they agreed that I had published a prayer to a Greek goddess, and then to decide whether what I had published made me an idolator or a pagan. It wouldn’t make you morally a slanderer.

          “So it is wicked (and shame on people who do that) & my opinion here is unchanged. “

          I’m trying to figure out who authorized you to decide what’s wicked, slanderous, mortal sin, etc.

          “Principled Criticism. Without it not only do ye not fix any of the problems Pope Francis causes but you help him cause more.”

          So, you’re saying that Pope Francis willfully causes problems. Speaking of slander.

          • >No, you wrote “Sterling.”

            Who cares? You clearly knew what I meant & the failure of my spell check or copy/paste function is nor my concern.

            > And whoopty thrills. It was one battle; there were some won and some lost on both sides over the centuries. Edward I wasn’t at Stirling Bridge, in any case; he was at Falkirk the next year, and won; and he captured Stirling Castle in 1304.

            Yet the Scottish National Anthem says we sent him homeward to think again…..that we lost at Falkirk is not relevant. I dinna bring it up.

            >I say so.

            I’m nor impressed lassie.

            > I was discussing the prayer, not the text above it.

            The prayer without a context is a pretext. I gave the context. End of story.

            >The prayer itself has nothing at all to do with the damage anybody is supposedly doing to the environment. It does not provide “testimony” of anybody’s “suffering.” It was unnecessary.

            Did ye not read the prayer? The prayer pleads for ” places, drink and eat” and for “this earth may be fruitful” & “that the seed sprout well, that nothing bad may happen to it,” etc. The whole theme is a prayer for protection. Why would non-threatened peoples pray for protection if they nor needed it? (Not that I think they do. I don’t buy the bunny hugging but that is far from the general charge of idolarty).

            >Mmmmm. And people bowing down and making offerings in a circle around statues of Pachamama is a heck of a context.

            No we are dealing with the nature of the prayer being included in this magazine and that is further deflection. Also I did deal below with that charge of “bowing down and making offerings” in answering your question to Dr Fastiggi you just dismissed my answer in a rude manner & refused to interact with it. Which tells me you have no answer.

            >In any event, what I said was that the Italian bishops published a prayer to Pachamama. I did not say that they told us to pray it or to worship pagan gods.

            Weasel words my dear. The reason reactionaries make that claim is to imply the Italian Bishops want us to worship Pachamama. I am nor having it.

            >I find it rather ironic that some people are saying, “But those couldn’t have been statues of Pachamama! She’s not an Amazonian goddess!” while others with the same agenda are printing prayers to Pachamama in a booklet about Amazonia.

            So you think the Italian Bishops have an “agenda” then is it? So you ARE implying they are promoting worship of Pachamama; Do speak plainly and don’t be ambiguous like Pope Francis at his worst.
            The prayer is referenced as an Inca prayer as you pointed out and the magazine points out. That they attribute it to plight of the indigenous is irrelevant.

            >The cases are hardly parallel. The booklet published by the Italian bishops does not say that the locals were angry…..

            I was making an analogy not an unequivocal comparison between the two so them not being parallel is irrelevant to the analogy. ( I am a partisan of Thomism. We use analogies).
            With this obvious analogy I was claiming that saying “the Bishops published a prayer to Pachamama” without explaining the context is just as bad as claiming “St Luke published a prayer to Artemus” without a context. Sorry ye dina get that.

            >And where did I accuse the bishops of being pagans?

            Then why did you respond to my initial post? It was aimed at people who cite this as “proof” idolatry took place also if you aren’t citing it for the same reason why bring up the people bowing and dancing around the statues and cite it as context? Especially since the reactionary crowd uses that as “proof” an act of idolatry took place(that is the obvious assumption of the reactionary crowd. Well?

            >They just labeled it “Prayer.”

            That is not true by yer own admission they labeled it an “Inca Prayer”. Which to any reasonable Catholic reader tells us not to use said prayer since it is clearly labelled. I know we Catholics have crapy religious education but we are not that stupid.

            >The fallacy of equivocation involves switching the meaning of a term or phrase in the middle of an argument. For which term or word did I use two different meanings?

            I said the charge the Bishop published a prayer to pachamama was the fallacy of equivocation. The equivocation is the change of meanings possible for those sentences without a context. I will give you another example. “New Age Press publishes a prayer to Pachamama” given the context that likely means they mean it to be used for Heathen worship(New Ages do that). Bishops publish a prayer to Pachamama given the context tells us they don’t mean it for actual use(it is by yer own admission clearly labelled an Inca Prayer nor a Catholic One).

            >Do learn to spell.

            Request denied. If my spell check dinna object I dinna fash about it.

            >It’s “syncreticism.” I have not accused them of advocating paganism or syncreticism.

            Weasel words the charge is meant to imply it.

            >You’re the one who is wailing that context is the be-all and end-all of everything. I provided a description of the other things in the magazine that were headed “Prayer.”

            You left out the bit about the Pachamama prayer being clearly labelled an Inca Prayer. Context again my dear. Context.

            > I’m not sure whom you mean by “you lot,” but I am very grateful that Pope Francis did not succumb to those who were urging lay-led parishes and married priests. And what gives you the idea that I expect a defense of environmental “wackoness” from you?

            I am clarifying my efforts here to defend Francis and I would add the participants at the ceremony from the false charge of idolatry. Just because I am defending them from that charge doesn’t mean I care to defend their whole environmentalist agenda because I am by choice & by reasoning a proud climate skeptic. A lot of people I have dealt with in the past have tried to change the subject by switching up their criticism. I don’t care to defend Pope Francis if I think he is doing something wrong. I will only defend him when I think he is being treated unjustly. Nothing more. Tis that simple.

            >It is not a slander; it is a clear statement of fact. They printed a booklet. It has a prayer to Pachamama in it.

            Without giving the context it is clearly slander. Like when people accuse Trump of “separating kids from their parents at the boarder” or similar weasel word nonsense.

            >If you said such a thing, I would expect that people to whom you said it would look at what was published and see whether they agreed that I had published a prayer to a Greek goddess, and then to decide whether what I had published made me an idolator or a pagan. It wouldn’t make you morally a slanderer.

            ROTFLOL! My dear people are idiots. They are lazy and they don’t often do follow up. They listen to their partisan teachers and leave it at that. That goes for everybody. Wither Francis defenders or hyper critics.
            Sorry but if I did this to you it would be morally equivalent to what they did to the Covington Boys. Yer faith in the overall reasonability of people is misplaced and kind of naive IMHO(no offense). I am too cynical to believe that. Way too cynical…….

            >I’m trying to figure out who authorized you to decide what’s wicked, slanderous, mortal sin, etc.

            The same people who authorized themselves to judge the Holy Father guilty of idolatry. If they can do it then I can do it and I will do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

            >So, you’re saying that Pope Francis willfully causes problems. Speaking of slander

            I never said anything about his will. Yes speaking of slander…….

  6. @Leslie

    While I am at it.

    >You didn’t answer this question: “Tell me, will you at a very minimum admit that kneeling around a representation of the planet earth (which is what that painted cloth appears to be) and a statue that very likely (I’m being generous and not saying “almost certainly”) represents an earth goddess, bringing offerings, and bowing to the ground in worship, are actions very open to interpretation as idolatry?”

    If I may……

    Some Vatican spokesmen said no kneeling or bowing took place but that is refuted by the video. Other Vatican officials said the statue was Pachamama yet the people in the video presented it to the Holy Father as “Our Lady of the Amazon” not Pachamama. The Pope’s spokesmen said the Pope called the statues “the pachamama statues” because that was how the media identified them.

    Strangely the reactionary crowd and their fellow travelers are rather selective with the evidence. In the first case they put emphasis on the empirical evidence of the video to dismiss the testimony of the Vatican spokesmen but in the second case they ignore the video and go for the testimony. In both cases coming to the preordained conclusion idolatry took place & that seems to be the motivation not the proper rational and objective interpretation of evidence. In both cases the empirical video trumps the testimony given. So the only fair conclusion is bowing took place and they bowed before a statue of Mary (an unconventional & problematic statue to say the least. It is against western iconography to show Mary nude).

    The third case in principle cannot be refuted by video so the principle of charity mandates we believe their characterization of the Holy Father’s word which he said in passing and not in an official capacity.

    Finally if I may cite the video & testimony. Eric Giunta wrote quote “The neo-traditionalists had a field day with Vatican spokesman Paolo Ruffini’s assertion that “[n]o prostration took place” with respect to these images, juxtaposing that denial with this still-shot from video taken at the Vatican Gardens prayer service:…….
    A pretty damning contradiction of the Vatican’s denial, right? Only if you’re an intellectually lazy hack out to author a hit-piece and cannot be bothered to watch the original video for crucial context. And what is that context, beginning at the 11:20 mark of the video? Amazonian Catholics, directing prayer to God, their arms raised in the traditional orans and their gaze directed heavenward — symbolic gestures practiced by Christians all across the denominational spectrum, and one, incidentally, having its roots in ancient Near Eastern paganism, when people believed their gods really did dwell in “heaven,” i.e., Sky-Vault; during this prayer the participants briefly prostrate themselves in worship, before quickly rising again and continuing to pray gazing heavenward. No fair observer would construe this as prayer or any other form of worship directed toward the images the worshipers are circling.”END QUOTE

    The video of the ceremony for context.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wioisaIU2I&feature=youtu.be&t=680&ab_channel=VaticanNews

    Giunta’s article:
    https://ericsgiunta.wordpress.com/2019/11/07/my-last-word-on-the-fake-vatican-pachamama-idols-controversy/

    So answer yer question simply I have no reason to believe that statue is of a goddess. I have no good reason to believe that statue isn’t Mary (even if the image is problematic. As my wife points out to me. Nudity in western art means either sexuality or humiliation and that cannot be applied to Mary. Jesus OTOH can be nude because of the passion and the Divine Incarnation is a form of humiliation taking on the form of a slave and so forth). Finally I have no reason to believe they bowed to these images anyway.

    So the burden is in fact on you to prove idolatry. Yeh good luck with that.

    PS. Just because the Pope is innocent here doesn’t mean his reign is peachy.

  7. “If I may……”

    The question wasn’t addressed to you, so I’m not interested in reading a response from you.

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