Amazon Synod and Pagan Rituals

A powerful testimony by a faithful Catholic priest.


I wish our clergy at the pagan ritual would’ve seen seen this video before attending.

But instead:

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I’m someone who actually speaks Portuguese and knows Brazil.

So, I think it’s really humanizing to let people demonstrate their culture. That’s basic tolerance and receiving of guests (any religious leader/ethnic group visiting the Vatican also get to showcase their practices).

The international media showed the images of this specific meeting in a way that portrayed it as strange. A bunch of elderly cardinals sitting around the pope watching an incomprehensible ritual isn’t exactly attractive as a show.

The natives of Amazonia live through terrible problems and their existence is threatened. Having a public cultural display for the pope isn’t going to hurt anyone.


@Johann_du_Toit @Crusader13 I just watched the Fr.Mark Goring video, linked in the OP, and he doesn’t say a single word about the Amazon Synod (only the title says Amazon or Synod).

While I appreciate the priests passion, I’ve also met dozens of priests who were missionaries in Africa and South America. It’s obvious the priest in the video (and those commenting on youtube) doesn’t have any experience “in country” as you say in the US.

Not withstanding, the first thing all missionaries learn “in country” is that they need to loosen they Western approach in order to approach the non-Westerners.


So…they aren’t engaged in a pagan ceremony here? It doesn’t appear to be Catholic.


That’s not the purpose of his video. From a secular position, yes, I agree. There are western customs that are unique to the US that you wouldn’t find in other countries.

He’s talking about this false need to participate in pagan worship rituals, with the understanding that this form of dialogue will help foster better relations.

Instead, by participating in such rituals or even by insisting that there are aspects of the pagan that can bolster our own Catholic faith, we have given them a belief that their worship is valid in the eyes of God.

And we let them offer prayers to Mother Earth and women fertility idols and whatever else they choose. For whose benefit? Not that of that Catholic Church, I assure you.


In all charity, you’re right he doesn’t mention the Synod specifially but he is clearly talking about the Amazon and pagan rituals and the need to go in and preach Jesus rather than dialogue or participate in those pagan rituals.


I didn’t research the shown ritual but it’s safe to assume it is “animist”.

Hi @Crusader13 thanks for your answer, please let me try to add:

I’ll give one example: if you read the catechism carefully, you’ll notice a person born&raised protestant is under no moral obligation to become catholic. (That’s what “freedom of conscience” is about, and upbringing weighs in heavily). Then -also from the catechism -conversion is “a gift”, “a grace”, you can cooperate with grace, but you might also not receive “the grace of conversion”. That’s a prerogative of the Holy Spirit, not ours!! (Use of reason alone does not suffice.)

Then, if the pope visited the US, and some “native Americans” (e.g. Apaches) wanted to meet with him and showcase their traditional rituals and ceremonies, you’d be more inclined to appreciate the meeting and the images. Fact is: it’s the southern continent, and they not meeting in Oklahoma might bring some strangeness to the US viewer (literally: an informal setting in the middle of the jungle…And those Indians don’t wear feathers…)

Well, in north America, no doubt, the native Indians suffered an almost genocide (an interessting subject of research, and dare I say in south America westerners made a better job of keeping the Indians alive?). BUT, in several ways, that genocide IS ONGOING in Amazonia. So, I don’t see it fitting for the pope, or the religious, to IMPOSE themselves, on human beings that are almost primitive, many of them never even having seen a white man, visited a city, worn clothes, or speak any language that we’ve ever heard off…

Who are we to forbid them?

For the benefit of their faith.

Our Lord’s only commandment was that we love each other :slight_smile:



That reminds me of Fr. António de Andrade S.J. :slight_smile:

I have a different perspective on this issue and have for a long time especially in our cultural experience of the Aboriginal people.

Since the Renaissance and subsequent Enlightenment, people have come to regard things of spiritual instinct as valueless. We have become a society that puts reason and intellect as the only way of interpreting life and our origins and our destination and that’s how too many people regard religious worship.

Back in 1994 Pope St JPII wrote in “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” - At this point, it seems opportune to recall all the primitive religions, the Animist type of religion , which puts first emphasis on the worship of their ancestors. It seems that those who practice it are particularly close to Christianity. Among them the missionaries of the Church more easily find a common language.

Is there, perhaps, in this veneration of the ancestors a kind of preparation for the Christian belief in the communion of saints, wherein all believers - whether living or dead - form a single community, a single body? Faith in the communion of the saints is, ultimately, faith in Christ, the only source of life and holiness for all.

There is nothing strange, then, in the fact that the African and Asian animists would become confessors of Christ more easily than followers of the great religions of the Far East .

I really believe that when the tribal people around the world were colonised, we would have done our faith a great service to appreciate their concept of the ‘real presence’ and true communion that is a God given gift from the beginning of civilisation.

I wonder if Fr Goring may have been raised Protestant and may have been taught that Catholics were pagan in their rituals. That can be a hard fear to overcome and perhaps prevent recognising that tribal pagans have something of value to offer Christian faith?


(Not that you have an answer to this question, but…) Then why is it taking place at the Vatican??


I’ve been busy…now I’ve read a couple of news articles and yes the ritual and the singing were religious in nature. And yes, it was at the Vatican.

Amen. Yes, missionaries are meant to transform the culture through Christ and his Church, but it never means to accept anything that is contrary to Jesus and the faith. Yes, did Jesus accompany his disciples for three years? Yes He did. But did Jesus accompany the woman caught in adultery, no he didn’t. “Go, and sin no more.” Did Jesus accompany His mother and St. Joseph for many years? Yes, he did, but Mary was sinless and St. Joseph was a righteous man.
Your experience in Brazil will have more weight to it than someone who has never been to other countries and lived with the people of that particular culture.
Jesus accompanied the apostles and one of his “friends” was Judas and Judas betrayed Jesus. A missionary can’t go to a mission and start destroying their culture…he needs wisdom, patience, kindness and prudence. But a missionary doesn’t bring his own gospel, he shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My opinion.


I ll help you , Ad Gloriam
It was October 4th… St Francis of Assisi…
The Pope planted an oak tree brought from Assisi with earth from the Amazonian jungles and some people front Amazonia were invited as a sign in of closeness for this coming Synod ( opened today with a Mass)and they brought their traditional clothes and performed a dance, kissed the earth and gave him some presents, like a wooden statue.
That was all…


I understand your points and I honestly see the connection you’re attempting to make. However, part of your post makes the Church sound the like Borg from Star Trek. :grin:. Like they just assimilate people into the faith and wipe out their cultural identity.

If the Pope and clergy were visiting other regions or Native American reservations as guests and were asked to attend a service, that’s a little more understandable.

In this case however, they invited this group and allowed them to perform a worship ritual for the planting of a tree at the Vatican itself?! We’re not talking about attending a tree lighting ceremony for Christmas or having them as guests while an Amazonian priest celebrates Mass.


They do that frequently

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Pope John Paul II always kissed the ground when he arrived in a new country. He often joined in the traditional dancing ceremonies as well. He kissed the Koran and wore tribal headdresses for different ceremonies.

The Traditionalists were always calling him a heretic and pagan. It is the case now and was ever thus.


Thank you for bringing up the quote from St John Paul II. I have always been fascinated with that. Jesus said that we should recognize when those outside his followers demonstrated fruits of the Holy Spirit. I think it is difficult to precisely define pagan. Here we walk a fine line to recognize God’s presence everywhere and to be faithful to the specific mission of Catholic Christians. I don’t see that indigenous practices are as much of a threat as possible apostasy among official Catholic leaders. The Amazon docuent does not explicitly proclaim Christ. It’s our own problems we should focus on. I understand it is more difficult for Father Goring to call out the problems with authority. Thiswe must all be vigilant and pray, :pray: pray !


Oh and some from the Order of Franciscan Minors were invited too.

That’s not all it was. And it doesn’t help when the situation is downplayed that way. Because the uproar from Catholics don’t see it that way.

And I’m sure if we were to ask the Amazonians who performed the ritual, if it was meaningless, I’m sure they would have a different view.

Psalm 95 (96) says : For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.

If they are not just false idols, as in other translations, but actual devils (demons). Then this isn’t just to satisfy the Amazonians.

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