What was/is the Vatican's defense of the Pachamama worship service?

I consider myself to be a liberal leaning Episcopalian with a healthy respect of our shared Catholic traditions.

However even I was completely flabbergasted that the Magisterium heirarchy would host that pagan worship service a week or so ago. Sitting through a ceremony is one thing, but having it right in the Vatican? Completely inappropriate!

Pachamama is a very obvious and clear, false God, so it wasn’t a representation of the Virgin as the Vatican originally stated.

I’ve been struggling to find their defense for hosting it though. I’ve only found articles online describing how outlandish or inappropriate the event was…very one sided sources unfortunately.

Has anyone found anything in the Vatican’s defense?


What do you mean by “pachamama worship service”? As far as I know, there was no such thing. It was simply the presence of these statues in a Catholic Church in Rome during the synod.

As far as any sort of official explanation from the Vatican—as far as I can tell—there isn’t any. The only reference to the statues on the Vatican news site is Pope Francis’ statement when they were recovered from the river.

It seems to me like someone involved in the organizing of the synod thought it would be a good idea to have these indigenous statues present during the synod. Why they thought such a thing is the question of the hour. I don’t really expect it will be answered. Sometimes one person gets an idea and others don’t really stop to consider whether that idea is a good one or not.


You might want to do some basic research before assuming the “magisterium heirarchy” is relevant here.

(this topic has several threads going right now too)

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That bishop is Bishop Kraeutler, and he wants the Nachomama incorporated in the liturgy.


Remember, Moloch statues of the golden calf were both indigenous statues and fertility idols. Just like the Nachomama idols. Both don’t belong on this earth, let alone in a House of God in the liturgy.




The Pope himself was watching people dancing and bowing to a statue right on Vatican property


The Vatican offered two theories, both conflicting, and both equally accepted as its answer at the same time. The first defense was that the Pachamama represents the native Amazonian depiction of the Virgin Mary. It then contradicted itself and said that the statues are not of Mary, but are representations of Mother Nature, and fertility, and are simultaneously not idols. Essentially what you got was Orwellian double-speak as an answer, which is why there has been such a commotion. At times like this I wish the Pope would offer clear explanations, but alas, that is not his way.


I don’t know that there is a clear explanation, but one of Pope Francis’ driving motivations (according to books and interviews) is “meeting people where they are” and finding even the tiniest window crack to begin extending Christ’s mercy and begin conversion, and I must assume that continues to be his perspective and motivation here, though of course only he can confirm.

Whether that’s the prudent or correct application of the principle in this situation, especially for the Pope as such a public and representational (for Catholicism as a whole) figure… Well, we all have our own thoughts. I have thoughts, but it’s not something I’ve been paying particular attention to.


I don’t know how appropriate it is for me to express my own thoughts, but to continue off my last post, this strikes me more as a lone-missionary-in-the-wilds field work approach. I understand the role of the papacy (among other things) is to be a unifying figure for Christians, and as such a public figure he must be a staunch representative of doctrinal and moral orthodoxy. He does not need to be a traditionalist in administration, but should be in faith and morals. It’s part of the role.

But, and let me say but, these are very personal opinions I’m expressing, I don’t really follow all this news closely or dwell on it, and I know I just have a rather uneducated opinion on the matter. I’m not saying I’m necessarily in the wrong, just that I know there is plenty of room for me to grow and develop, and I’m open to being corrected.


Wesrock, I think that is a charitable explanation and one that I hope is correct.


I wish I could read German. :smile: What specifically did the bishop say regarding the statues being incorporated into the liturgy?

For what my opinion is worth, your instincts are good. Pope St John Paul II with his special familiarity with communism, helped to bring on its fall, not by harsh condemnation but by loving listening and dialogue. That approach has the special marks of the Holy Spirit.

Now we have Pope Francis and his familiarity with South American spiritualities and we can hope that the same loving, listening approach will bring about the conversion of pagans.


Sounds like the pope was being a good Jesuit…


For me, this is the problem. I am not freaking out about what happened, but it seems that there is a complete lack of understanding in the Vatican of the pain and confusion that this has caused, even if the reaction has been overblown . It seems that the pastoral action would be to provide an explanation and reassurance. Silence does not seem to have been the best approach.


How much pain and confusion has it caused?Granted, people are upset about it on the internet, but I haven’t heard a single “in real life” Catholic say a single word about the synod let alone these statues.


Yes. Beware the fishbowl mentality.
It’s good to connect with other faithful Catholics for full perspective.

From the Google Translate:

When asked, Bishop said that the people who brought the Pachamama to Rome were “Catholic Christians who are far from worshiping them as deities.” It is a symbol of fertility. Kräutler literally says: “And if for many it is a deity, then it is an attack on the soul of a people to throw them into the Tiber.”

Stealing a comment from another thread: “Then you should have no problem in showing respect for Papal teaching, even when you do not recognize it as what the Church has long taught.”

In other words: “Because it was allowed to happen, and because the people who allowed it to happen are smarter than we are and they know what they are doing, we should respect their authority and assume it’s ok even if it looks like it’s not ok.” Ok?

Well have you asked many ‘in real life’ Catholics about it?

I think the idea that an internet forum is just a tiny proportion of Catholics with no real bearing on what Catholics really think, is misguided.

Most of the people on here are real practicing Catholics. Sure, it would also be mistaken to think that the general consensus of an internet forum is representative of the general feeling of Catholics on this issue, but I don’t think people’s comments on the internet should be brushed aside as ‘well it’s just people on the internet who think this’.

There has definitely been a lot of uproar about it, not just on this forum, but on social media too, that a lot of ‘real life’ people use.


I have heard a lot about it, including a homily. It has been a major topic of conversation in my real-life Catholic circles, which are pretty varied.

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