During the Amazon Synod in October, acts were carried out that were described by Catholic believers as idolatry and considered as a violation of the First Commandment.
First of all, a description of the facts, according to Auxiliary Bishop Schneider from Kazakhstan, as he writes in an open letter [1]:
“On October 4, 2019, on the eve of the Amazon Synod, a religious ceremony was held in the Vatican Gardens, in the presence of Pope Francis and of several bishops and cardinals, which was led partly by shamans and in which symbolic objects were used; namely, a wooden sculpture of an unclothed pregnant woman. These representations are known and belong to indigenous rituals of Amazonian tribes, and specifically to the worship of the so-called Mother Earth, the Pachamama. In the following days the wooden naked female figures were also venerated in St. Peter’s Basilica in front of the Tomb of St. Peter. Pope Francis also greeted two bishops carrying the Pachamama object on their shoulders processing it into the Synod Hall where it was set in a place of honor. Pachamama statues were also put on display in the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.” 
Subsequently, Bishop Schneider condemned what had happened:
“Catholics cannot accept any pagan worship, nor any syncretism between pagan beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic Church. The acts of worship of kindling a light, of bowing, of prostrating or profoundly bowing to the ground and dancing before an unclothed female statue, which represents neither Our Lady nor a canonized saint of the Church, violates the first Commandment of God: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’ and the explicit prohibition of God, who commands: ‘Beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven’ (Dt 4:19), and: ‘You shall make for yourselves no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God’ (Lev 26:1).” 
Also the former Prefect of Faith Cardinal Müller expressed himself clearly [2]:
The liturgy in the Vatican Gardens, on 4 October in the presence of Pope Francis, had included “a certain veneration, or adoration, of idols”, a violation of the first commandment, because Jesus Christ, present in the sacraments, “is the only Saviour”. It is true that Catholics have “images of saints, but we don´t adore them”; rather, we “venerate” these images that only represent the holy persons. “Adoration” is not due to people or creation “in any way”, explained Cardinal Müller and referred to the theology of St. Paul.
“To bring idols into the Church was a grave sin, a crime against divine law.” -said Cardinal Müller.
So there is the accusation of idolatry, a serious violation of the first commandment. Since all this happened in public, and moreover in Rome and in the Vatican, the seat of the Catholic Church, it cannot simply be ignored. It concerns the whole Church and the mission entrusted to her to carry the Gospel to the peoples.
What is decisive is the evaluation of these events. Was it an act to inculturate the Gospel or was it idolatry – and thus a falsification of the Gospel?
We hear the voice of Auxiliary Bishop Eleganti from Switzerland, who reminds us in a Facebook update that the controversial figure of Pachamama is not the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church:
“…That one kneels in the Vatican gardens before her on the foreheads and that she stands prominently and is carried around, where it would be better to venerate and show the miraculous image of the Virgin of Guadalupe (an image of the Virgin Mary given by heaven, unambiguous and at the same time inculturated, with indigenous features and symbols), is incomprehensible. It is not understandable to an observer that the publicly displayed veneration of Pachamama at the Amazon Synod is not meant to be idolatry. And even if it were so,there would still remain the scandal that, at least, it looks like such and that the Rock of Peter is not at all getting worried about it. On the contrary, the Pope even defends those rituals conducted in the Vatican Gardens, which are alien to Christianity, and laments the violent but understandable reactions against them“[3].
An emeritus bishop, José Luis Azcona, from the Amazon region, speaks out even more clearly [4]. He condemns the pagan rites as demonic sacrileges that cause offence. He confirms that the Pachamama is a pagan deity. He specifies:
“These celebrations depend on the spirits that are evoked and it is evident that this is witchcraft, from which the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians warns us, in chapter 5, verse 29, when he denounces the sin of idolatry that is incompatible with the Gospel and with mission. “, an Austrian internet portal, however, reports the following from Bishop Kräutler, who was one of the heads of the Amazon Synod [5]:
Erwin Kräutler, the controversial Austrian bishop, has defended the controversial Pachamama representations from the Amazon region as a “form of expression of the indigenous people” which could be “integrated into our liturgy”. Kräutler said this at a conference in Bregenz, as the “Tagespost” reports. “There are people who think that Pachamama is a goddess,” explained Kräutler.
Obviously Bishop Kräutler had a lot of influence on the bishops of the Synod, as Cardinal Schönborn from Vienna, an influential cardinal, emphasized. reports that Cardinal Schönborn expressed himself in an interview as follows:
“He (Bishop Kräutler) enjoyed a very high esteem among the bishops and the laity at the Synod – and I was very pleased about that – and is seen as a pioneer.
Those who defend this ceremony speak of an inculturation. In contrast to this, Bishop Voderholzer from Regensburg, for example, said in a sermon on this topic in the Basilica of St. Emmeram on 31.10.19 [6]:
“…inculturation always happens in connection and break at the same time. Origen, also a theologian of early church history, pointed out in his interpretation of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, for example, that the Israelites took the golden vessels and statues of their previous host country with their Pharaoh cult and the fixation on the hereafter with them, but that they did not use them as such, but melted them down and transformed them into the holy instruments for the worship and adoration of the God of Israel. He is the God of the covenant with mankind and gives them orientation for a life pleasing to God in the Ten Commandments. Nor did St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, take over the cult of the Germanic peoples one to one. Boniface did not dance around the Donar oak, the cult tree of the Germanic world of gods, and did not embrace it, but he felled it and made a cross out of its wood and built a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter. A wonderful image for the implantation of the novelty of the Gospel in continuity and discontinuity with the previous one! … Without a certain break with the past, the novelty of Christ cannot be won.” 
So, with regard to the ceremony mentioned, we cannot speak of a successful inculturation. Such an inculturation would take place if cultural elements were integrated which – completely freed from former pagan significance – could in no way confuse the faithful. It cannot be that any possibility remains open which would allow the demons to make use of such idols in order to exert their influence on men.
But the Indian Pachamama cult is still alive and not freed from its pagan elements. Even if one wants to see only a fertility symbol in the statues used, it is not possible for Catholics to pay special homage to them. In this respect the events in Rome are to be classified as very serious.
What conclusions are to be drawn if we have to assume that in connection with the Amazon Synod, acts of idolatry took place in the Vatican and in a church in Rome, thereby seriously violating the First Commandment?
First of all – regardless of whether these acts were committed out of ignorance, out of blindness or even with dark intent – they are acts which affect the entire universal Church, since they happened at the seat of the Catholic Church, in the presence of the Pope.
Until now, unfortunately, Pope Francis has not distanced himself from these acts, for which he bears responsibility.
When such a serious deed is committed against the true worship of God, atonement is required. In the meantime, various initiatives have been taken which have included acts of penance and exorcisms carried out by priests.
Bishop Schneider draws the right conclusion in the mentioned open letter:
In view of the requirements of the authentic worship and adoration of the One True God, the Most Blessed Trinity, and Christ Our Savior, in virtue of my ordination as a Catholic bishop and successor to the Apostles, and in true fidelity and love for the Roman Pontiff, the Successor of Peter, and for his task to preside over the “Cathedra of the truth” (cathedra veritatis), I condemn the veneration of the pagan symbol of Pachamama in the Vatican Gardens, in St. Peter’s basilica, and in the Roman church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.
In the meantime some time has passed, but there was neither an apology from the Pope nor acts of reparation from the Church authorities in Rome. Unfortunately, this is also no longer to be expected. This is incomprehensible, because such an act of idolatry should actually be able to open one’s eyes to the anti-spirit that has spread in the Church right up to the hierarchy. Obviously, however, a general blindness is spreading, and the right insight is being lost. It is already stated in Isaiah 45:20:
“They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save.” 
What’s more, one must realize that the religious deception announced in the catechism is effective. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 675) states:
Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers [cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20]. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh [cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 John 7; 1 John 2:18, 22]. 
We must open our eyes and live in great vigilance in the following of Christ. Many signs point to the coming of the Antichrist or of an Antichrist who precedes the Second Coming of the Lord. The spirit of the Antichrist is already penetrating intensively into the Church and spreading his destructive activity.
The four examples I have given:
  • The problem of Amoris Laetitia
  • The modification of the catechism in relation to the death penalty
  • The Abu Dhabi Declaration
  • The Pachamama cult in the Vatican
are recognizable signs of a “different spirit” in the church.
Unfortunately, we must expect that other things will follow. If we remain faithful to the Lord, to Sacred Scripture, to the authentic Magisterium of the Church, and if we maintain an intimate relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will even emerge strengthened and the Church purified from the present existential crisis. But we must soberly prepare ourselves for the fact that the crisis is not yet over and the antichristian spirit will continue to try to weaken the Church. Here we must resolutely offer spiritual resistance!
Jerusalem, 24 December 2019
[2] Interview in “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo, October 24, 2019
[3] Two men carried several figures of Pachamama from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina and threw them into the Tiber. They recorded this process with a camera and it was made known through the Internet and social media. Subsequently, this action was evaluated differently: Some spoke of an act of temple cleansing, others interpreted it as disrespecting the Indians of the Amazon.