Pachamama – and Where Traditionis Custodes May Have Come From

If you don’t know about Where Peter Is yet, you really should. Excellent posts like the one my friend Mike Lewis just put up why – go check out “A Catholic moral panic, two years on.” It tells the story of how right-wing Catholic media such as EWTN and their affiliate National Catholic Register, and LifeSite News, repeatedly spread half-truths and misleading or uninformed statements about the so-called Pachamama incident during the Amazon synod.

This was part of a larger campaign to opposed Pope Francis and the Amazon Synod. Cardinal Burke and Kazakhstan Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider were  in on it. And of course Archbishop Vigano, Taylor Marshall, and Mel Gibson.

Mike Lewis explains it all admirably. It’s an interesting read. It’s also distressing.

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And ICYMI, last August Mike Lewis posted “Was Traditionis Custodes a response to concerned US bishops?” Yes, you read that rightly. It seems it might have been. Go check it out at Where Peter Is, There Is the Church. Do you see why I like that site so much?



    1. From one monotheist to another, you might arrive at a different conclusion if you read the article in question. You can also listen to it. Thanks , Anthony. The author has done his homework. Very informative.

    2. Is Wikipedia accurate in this case? I don’t know. It is possible that someone gave a slant to the Wikipedia entry because of the heated controversy of the past two years. I feel inadequately informed, and way too far from the situation, to make a judgment about what is happening in the Amazon. The blog post by Mike Lewis helped me see that it could be quite different from what white conservatives from far away think. I was struck by Cardinal Schönborn – co-author of the Catechism of the Church – defending the Pachamama and understanding it as not being idolatrous.

      1. Regarding the statue, I feel I don’t understand which take on it is correct. If it was perceived as being a pagan deity by all involved, then it was inappropriate to bring it on Vatican grounds and reverence it. If it was perceived as being a depiction of Our Lady (perhaps enculturated or adapted from prior depictions of the Pachamama deity) and given reverence as such, then the negative reaction to it is unjustified.

      2. If it was perceived as pagan by people ignorant of the true situation, and they knowingly reported on an un-researched suspicion, it would be a mortal sin: a violation against the commandment not to give false witness, and would itself be a case of giving scandal. Ignorance is one thing, more or less able to be corrected. If rich white people were unwilling to be schooled by Third World Christians, there might be other possible layers of racism, misogyny, arrogance, etc. present here. This, in addition to spreading lies either knowingly or with a lazy attitude is a serious flaw in the perpetrator’s moral makeup.

  1. well despite my slovak blood i live in a non-european pagan country, there are more personal details to attest to my non-rascism but i am leaving that out – besides it should be noted bearing false witness to discredit enemies is hardly Christ like but I know not one’s conscience or life story so I will not judge. there is even a pagan altar to gods in the house i live in which family burn money to give their ancestors wealth in the ghost world. their gods are vile, demanding materialism and tit-for-tat be it revenge or grand feasts to be offered and wasted to them for petty luck. i imagine an immense bloated diseased corpse feasting on money and rotten flesh when i think of idols and paganism. so combine that with the fact that i am a sinner, I think I personally know demons all too well. i may have made the mistake of flirting with breaking, if outright doing so, the first commandment when i had left Christianity for a time. i have seen this all with my own eyes. in my old country the first Christians cut my distant ancestors sacred idol trees,

    they say in the end on the day of judgement one’s own guardian angel will accuse you and the Mother of God will not be there to intercede. There is a lot I will answer for but at least this wont be amongst them and I am very afraid for the people who meddle with this, even online, thousands read its like a public endorsement in a newspaper – which i why i write to appeal to Truth in opposition to this insanity. just google pachamama its not some mother earth analogy, they used to make human sacrifice to it. for the people and bishops going into this rabbit hole there is still time to change the road you are on, but for myself i am a sinner and i will be made accountable for what i have done and my judgement will be terrible but a just one, but at least i know in this I stand on the side of truth ,and in the end the earth and this universe itself will pass. but the God of God, Light of Light , True God of True God wins and the victory and that life is eternal.

  2. Thank you, Anthony, for alerting me to this article. I read it and was impressed, but also worried. I couldn’t help thinking of the events in Washington DC on January 6th. Something struck me about these two events, the Capitol insurgency and the arguments about ‘Pachamama,’ something which they seem to me to share.

    I wonder whether there are two issues working here, ideology and fuel. The ideology from the ecclesiastical ‘right’ is all about paganism and whether or not an image represents whatever – or not.

    However, the fuel driving the ‘outrage’ seems to be more sinister to my eye. That ‘fuel’ is simple rage.

    It is not confined to the Church of course. In the UK over the last few years we have seen the gross coarsening of public debate, instanced by the row over Brexit and recently the murder of the MP Sir David Amess and some years ago that of the MP Jo Cox. Our politicians seem to ‘give permission’ for this by the things they say sometimes. The internet seems to be a place where some shocking views are expressed and threats made apparently with impunity and without any sort of control. People seem to become uncontrollably angry with much less justification than was the case when I was younger – or so it seems to me now I am older!

    What saddens me is to see that rage manifesting itself in the Church as some sort of moral crusade. I am sure that ‘inculturation’ as we used to call it, is not either a straightforward path or one without its pitfalls, but that is no excuse.

    Rage is what societies choke to death on.

    I’ve just recited Midday Prayer. The Hymn is appropriate:

    Extingue flammas litium
    aufer calorem noxium;
    confer salutem corporum
    veramque pacem cordium.


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