Worrying blog post from Father Z

Ritual bowl for demonic Pachamama placed on St. Peter’s altar at closing Mass of #AmazonSynod.

Father John Zuhlsdorf has posted a very worrying blog post stating that it appears that whilst wooden idols of Pachamama were kept from the final synod Mass, a bowl of earth containing some odd looking flowers was actually placed on the altar at the Offertory. He provides some very convincing evidence that this item, combined with other items buried in the earth of such a bowl, can be used for a service of worship to this particular pagan goddess . Further photographic evidence and links are presented which make for very frightening conclusions.

The address of said web site:



Hasn’t Father Z learned that pagan amazonians don’t believe in the Pachamama?


I think all of us would do well to remember Padre Pio’s advice: “Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry.”

As St. Pio, a man who was quite well aware of the devil, pointed out, worry doesn’t help or change anything.

God has said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, so simply pray for the Church and the Holy Father and for the reparation of mankind’s sins, and trust in God.


If this is true, it makes the whole thing even more bizarre. If it’s not even the authentic culture or religion of the Amazonian people, why is this Pachamama nonsense all over this synod and everything associated with it and inspired by it? If you look at the layout of the rite in the Vatican gardens, it was clearly a Pachamama offering rite as pictures of them and the “how to” linked to by Father Z show (they just added the kitschy idols). The Italian bishops included a prayer to Pachamama in a booklet inspired by the synod. In Spain, there was a recent conference of Catholics (including two Cardinals) as a follow up to the synod that was “presided” over by Pachamama. What gives?


That blog post reads like it came from a very paranoid person. It makes no logical sense.

I honestly don’t see how a priest can post such things. To make logic leaps of that magnitude in order to come to the conclusion that the Vatican is holding demonic ceremonies is sad.


Then why have it at the ceremony in the garden and why place it on the altar during Mass which is not to be done.

Father Z is not the only one concerned. He is only one priest among others saying something about that plant.

Even those recording the final Mass kept zooming in on that plant and the words written on the pot.


I think Fr Z is overreacting. It is not unusual to decorate the Altar with a pot of flowers or cut flowers. These are flowers that he may think are ugly but are flowers from the Amazon area, appropriate for an Amazon Synod. He also seems to have a problem with the flowers being red. Would he think the same if they were using red roses instead of red tropical flowers? Implying those flowers are being used in the Church for a demonic ritual is real (and dangerous) slander.


What gives?
Well it now seems like a co-ordinated attempt to introduce Pachamama into Catholic liturgy. The German Die Tagespost today reports that the Austrian Bishop Erwin Krautler states " The controversial Pachamama representations are “expressive form of the indigenous peoples”, which could be “integrated into our liturgy” If you use Chrome browser and utilize the “translate” function, you can read the whole article in English.

Here is the link:



I would agree with you if not for the entire context. Those bowls have consistently been used to hold the offerings to Pachamama made throughout the synod. Those same bowls have appeared wherever the Pachamama idols have, including at the recent conference in Spain where heresy–explicitly acknowledged as such–was promoted as good. And offering red flowers to Pachamama is a traditional element of Pachamama worship, and red flowers are a traditional representation of Pachamama.


The gifts offered do not go on the altar table. Not even flowers.


General Instruction of the Roman Missal says in No. 305 that floral decoration should always “be arranged around the altar rather than on the altar table.”


Not sure if this is a cultural thing but in Italy (I lived there many years) I have often seen flowers pot/vase on the Altar (especially during weddings and important holidays). See some examples here


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Fr Z is very popular and also very sensational. I used to love his blog. Under Pope Benedict he had a lot of great liturgical reflections. Very intelligent man. But in the last several years his blog has become increasingly sensational and divisive. While he hasn’t himself proclaimed +Francis an anti-pope, some of his readers have, and worse…their comments show up on his blog posts.
There’s still good stuff and I agree with much of what he says, but I think some of his posts are way out there…


Perhaps it is a cultural thing. I would wonder if all these flowers are left there during Mass or there for decoration in between Masses?

Just because someone does something doesn’t make it right. I think I will stick with the GIRM.


No, they are used during Mass and left there also after.

All those flowers, like in your first photo? I have not seen that before. I think it would be difficult to offer the sacrifice with all that on the altar. Plus the first photo looks as though adoration is happening.

Again, I think I will stick with the GIRM.

All those flowers because is a special occasion (wedding, Christmas, solemn Adoration). In weekdays is something more simple, usually a small flower composition at the corner of the Altar like in these pictures.


Maybe the GIRM as adapted and approved for the Italian Bishops’ Conference makes a cultural exception for flowers?

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Fr Z is winding people up lately to the point where I’m saying an extra prayer with my post-Mass Memorare that he will please calm down.


The lack of symmetry in these altar arrangements are driving me crazy. (Two candles on one side and flowers on the other)


Do you attend all these parishes? Do you know what day and what each Mass is being said for? Do you know if the priest has chosen not to follow the rubrics or someone did this without his permission as sometimes happens due to lack of knowledge?

Perhaps or not knowing who is in these photos taken off the internet and not knowing what Mass is being celebrated it is kind of hard to judge what is happening.

Yes, our priest got upset once because there were two many candles on the altar and the rubrics were not followed. He would not like the flowers or the asymmetry

The GIRM from the Vatican website:

Floral decorations should always be done with moderation and placed around the altar rather than on its mensa . (table)

306. Only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the mensa of the altar: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels ; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium, if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal.


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