Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)
My Protestant friends were angry at the goings on at the Amazon Synod.
It's not unusual for some Protestants to disagree with the Catholic Church. After all, that's what makes them “protestants.” What is unusual is why the Protestants are upset at the Church.
Normally, conflicts between Protestants and Catholics arise from Catholics doing and saying very Catholic things. Things like venerating Mary and the saints, teaching that scripture is not the entirety of Divine Revelation, or teaching of the need to do good and avoid evil in order to enter through the narrow gate.
This time, though, was different. This time, the Protestants were upset that the Church wasn't being Catholic enough. In fact, this time the Church, in their eyes, had directly refuted the entire Judeo-Christian continuum and embraced paganism explicitly.
And no one can refute the Protestants’ point. No one has even tried.
Our Catholic apologetics is well equipped to defend our faith against the normal Protestant charges. But, thanks be to God, we've never developed a defense for what happened in Rome in October.
Therefore, I want to make a brief examination of the potential crimes committed at the Amazon Synod.
First, though, I do not write this flippantly. I have waited and prayed on this. I have read and studied. I do not take this lightly. My conclusions should be taken as coming from a faithful Catholic who is concerned about the consequences of papal actions—consequences for both the Church and for Pope Francis's immortal soul.
I also acknowledge that I, too, have gravely sinned by my own fault. I make no pretense of being “better” than Pope Francis or his bishops in any way. But only a handful of the Catholic hierarchy have spoken about against the grave sin we all witnessed in October. At some point, the laity must fill the leadership void left by a generation of weak and selfish bishops. Many Catholics must raise their voices in concern over the pope's heretical behavior. The Holy Father and the episcopate must know that we in the pews recognize first-class error when we see it, and we will no longer sit back and watch the Church hierarchy make a mockery of our faith.
My hope is that the pope and the bishops who defended his actions will come to their senses, open themselves to the graces of God, repent, and lead. I do not wish them ill; I wish them salvation and peace.
And in hope of their salvation and mine, I give the following.
The Facts of the Case
Let's begin by looking at the undisputed facts of the case:
- Pachamama is a pagan goddess of Peruvian origin. 1
- The Holy Father invited pagan shamans and others to conduct a worship service in the Vatican Garden. 2
- The Holy Father permitted pagan idols to be venerated in St. Peter's Basilica and Santa Maria Transpontina Catholic Church
- Concerned Catholic laity removed the idols from the church and threw them into the Tiber River. 3
- The Holy Father claimed publicly that the idols had been recovered, that they were in in fact statues of the Incan goddess Pachamama, and that he may use them in a Holy Mass to conclude the synod.
As I said, these are facts that cannot be reasonably argued. Arguments against these facts, to this point, have been emotional and condescending—name-calling against traditionalist Catholics without refutation of the facts. So let these facts be accepted and stipulated.
Now, accepting these facts, let's look at whether these facts indicate a crime or crimes have taken place, and, if so, the significance of those crimes.
Potential Crimes: Against Man and Against God
On the one hand, we must consider the potential crime against man: removing private property from a church and destroying, or attempting to destroy, that property.
On the other hand, we look at the potential crime against God of worshipping a strange god, on land set aside for the exclusive worship God, and by men consecrated to God.
To the first point, we have seen videos of the statues being removed from the church and thrown into the river. (See footnote 2.) The video was reputedly published by the men who performed the act. The statues were or are the private property of someone other than the men who threw them into the river. These facts point to civil guilt. The men involved could reasonably be held accountable for breaking civil law.
Next, to the crime against God of idol worship. We have seen video, authorized to be released by the Vatican, of people, both Amazonian natives and people in Catholic clerical attire, bowing down before the pagan idols, incensing the idols, processing the idols. In a word, “worship.” The Holy Father is undeniably visible at these worship services. He is seen in the videos accepting gifts from the Amazonian worshippers and smiling as he accepts them, indicating approval. The pope clearly participated, to some degree, in a pagan worship service on Vatican property, doing so as the Bishop of Rome and the pontiff of the Christian religion.
Crimes Against Man
Because the civil crime would be petty, and because the civil crime would be morally justified if perpetrated to diminish to stop a crime against God, there's no need to address this further. The statues were clearly mass-produced wooden carvings, being five identical or nearly identical statues. It's unlikely the street value of the idols would rise to the level of felony.
Additionally, Catholics are required to right wrongs, even if that means civil or social consequences. A Catholic cannot participate in an abortion, for instance. So, the men were morally justified in taking the actions they took.
Which leaves us with the crime against God.
Crimes Against God
I'll state, without fear of error, that, based on the facts above, the pope and the organizers of the synod violated the first commandment of God. Here is the text of the law from Douay-Rheims Bible, Exodus 10:1-5:
And the Lord spoke all these words: I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:
What's more, it's clear from what we all saw with our own eyes that the pope, bishops, and priests broke every single element of the first commandment of God:
- The Pachamama is, according to anthropologists, an Incan goddess worshipped for fertility and horticultural success, and therefore a “strange god.” Pope Francis himself admitted that the statues represent Pachamama to the exclusion of any venerable or divine person known to the Christian faith or to Judaism. This element of the first commandment was broken.
- The Pachamama idol is certainly a “graven image or likeness of a thing that is in the earth or in the waters under the earth.” Anthropologists and descendants of the Incas themselves have testified that Pachamama means “Mother Earth” and represents the earth and its fertility. This element of the first commandment was broken.
- We saw with our own eyes native peoples from the Amazon and Catholic clergy (or people disguised as Catholic clergy) bowing down before, incensing, and processing the idols, typical postures and gestures performed for adoration, and violating the first commandment's third element to “not adore or serve them.” This element was broken.
Clearly, the pope and other Catholic leaders flagrantly violated the first commandment in public and on sacred ground. By his example, the pope gave tacit approval to all Christians to similarly adore and serve the graven image of a strange god.
Some may argue that Christ abolished the old laws, like circumcision. So, before we rank the enormity of this crime, we should see whether or not this particular law was relaxed or affirmed in the New Testament.
The question of whether or not the first commandment binds Christians is settled in Matthew 22:36-40:
Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.
And Matthew 5:17-19:
Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Clearly, Jesus reiterated the first commandment, summarizing the first three commandments as pertaining to the love of God as the “greatest and first commandment” which He came to fulfill.
Most Serious Papal Crime Ever?
Based on these facts, then, it's difficult to imagine how any pope could commit a greater, more serious, more blasphemous crime against the first commandment, whether the first commandment to Moses or the first and greatest commandment as defined by Christ.
To argue that the pope was not aware of the seriousness of his crime would be to imply the pope is not aware of the Ten Commandments or of the Gospel of Matthew. Such an argument would be preposterous unless its proponent was making the case of Francic's unfitness for the office.
Since I can find no other example in history of a pope directly and obstinately violating God's first commandment to the Jews and to the gentiles, it's reasonable to rank the Pachamama worship as the greatest sin and greatest crime ever committed by a pope.
Finally, if the men who threw Pachamama from the bridge violated the seventh commandment, they did so to stop a violation of a superior commandment against worshipping false gods, just as Jesus turned over the money-changers’ tables at the temple.
Remedies and Reparations
This crime against the first commandment has resulted in the desecration and possible demonic infestation of the Vatican Gardens, St. Peter's Basilica, and Santa Maria Transpontina church. They have also placed Pope Francis's salvation in jeopardy and destroyed his moral authority. It's doubtful any pope in history has done so much damage to himself, his flock, and his soul in so short a time.
Moreover, the pope has shown no remorse. He continues to ridicule faithful Catholics, laity and clergy alike, who speak out against such an obvious sin against the first commandment.
Reparations must be made.
First, the pope needs to confess his sin, sincerely. He must be catechized on the first commandment and educated on paganism. He must recognize that what he did violates the first law of the God of Abraham. Until he puts himself in order, he can do nothing for Christianity.
Next, he must publicly teach against his own errors. He must admonish all Christians to obey the first commandment. He must use the Pachamama event as an example of what we must not do.
Then, he must reconsecrate the Vatican Gardens, St. Peter's, and Santa Maria Transpontina. They have been defiled and must be cleansed.
After that, Pope Francis must seriously consider stepping down as pope. He committed a painfully obvious crime against the first commandment and pridefully criticized those who correctly rebuked him. By any reasonable measure, he has scandalized all of Christendom by willfully and intentionally insulting God.
In the meantime, all Catholics need to pray the Rosary every day, make frequent confessions, assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17).
A tempest is brewing in the spirit world.
“The goddesses and gods gave people their life, and people reciprocated by worship and sacrifice expressed in local shrines and cults. The goddess Pachamama was the earth mother, an embodiment of procreative forces equivalent to the Hawaiian god Lono, except that Pachamama was a female image of earthly generation. Pachamama's daughters were also goddesses in charge of such basic domestic resources as maize, potatoes, coca, metals, and ceramic clay.” (Bodley, J. H., Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, p. 193). ↩︎
Video of Pachamamama worship.↩︎
Video of Throwing Pachamama from the Bridge.↩︎