As part of the Amazon Synod, held in October 2019, an idolatry of the indigenous deity Pachamama took place in the Vatican Gardens and later in St. Peter’s Basilica. Monsignor Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana (Kazakhstan), described the event as follows:

“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.” [1]

Acts of veneration of a pagan deity in such a holy place, at the See of the Catholic Church in Rome and in the presence of the Pope? Is it conceivable that such a thing could happen? It was only possible to reach such an extreme because the discernment of spirits has obviously been blurred and the facts are no longer perceived on the objective level. In fact, this cult was objectively a transgression of the first commandment of God’s law. [2]

Monsignor Athanasius Schneider, in his open letter, points out that these ceremonies of worship to images of pagan deities would have been the concrete application of the Abu Dhabi document, in which it was stated that “The pluralism and the diversity of religions (…) are willed by God in His wisdom”. Therefore, the Pachamama idolatry was the logical consequence of the Abu Dhabi Declaration. [3]

Here is another indication that “another spirit” is manifesting itself in the Church, about which I spoke at length in the article “The Second Wound of the Church: the Abu Dhabi Declaration”. [4]

Those responsible for the Pachamama cult will certainly have justified it as a gesture of inculturation. This latter term refers to the intention of incorporating certain cultural and traditional elements of the various peoples into the Catholic plenitude, so that they may feel more at home in the Church and, at the same time, enrich her with the expression that is proper to them. Unfortunately, the concept of inculturation has also been applied to the liturgy. On the basis of this idea, the most diverse elements of the traditions of peoples, whether from Africa, South America, Asia or remote islands, have been integrated into the “Novus Ordo” Mass. Perhaps it is considered that, in such inculturation, the words of the Apocalypse would become a reality: “They shall bring into it [the Church] the glory and the honor of the nations” (Rev 21:26).

Monsignor Erwin Kräutler, Bishop Emeritus of Xingu (Brazil) and one of the organizers of the Amazon Synod, erroneously defended the controversial representations of the Pachamama of the Amazon region as a “form of expression of the indigenous people” that could be “integrated into our liturgy”. [5]

Here again we must point out what we already noted in our previous reflections on Amoris Laetitia and the Abu Dhabi Declaration: a good intention can become its opposite if the discernment of spirits is not sufficiently applied.

Thank God, on this occasion, some voices from the Church hierarchy were raised, qualifying this Pachamama cult as idolatry. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, clearly stated that the liturgy celebrated on October 4 in the Vatican Gardens, in the presence of Pope Francis, had included “a certain veneration, or adoration, of idols”. He therefore called it a violation of the first commandment and defended those who threw into the Tiber the Pachamama figures that had been installed in the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina: “Putting them out can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the church was a grave sin, was a crime, against the divine law”. [6]

While Catholics have images of saints, we do not adore them; we merely “venerate” the image as a representation of that holy person. The “adoration” would in no way correspond to them, neither to human beings nor to creation – so Müller explained, and he referred to the theology of St. Paul. His conclusion was this: “To bring the idols into the church was a grave sin, was a crime, against the divine law”. [7]

Let us pause for a moment to consider the gravity of this event.

If we take seriously the statements of Cardinal Müller, of Monsignor Schneider, and of other voices that have spoken in the same sense, what happened here was a grave and public violation of the first commandment of God’s law: “You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no graven image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land, to bow down to them; for I am the Lord your God” (Lev 26:1).

There are enough examples in the Old Testament to show that it was primarily the idolatry of the people of Israel that provoked the “wrath of God”. Why?

The Bishop Emeritus of Marajó in the Amazon region, Monsignor José Luis Azcona, raised his voice and condemned pagan rituals as “scandalous, demonic sacrileges”:

“Pachamama is not and never will be the Virgin Mary. To say that this statue represents the Virgin is a lie. She is not Our Lady of the Amazon because the only Lady of the Amazon is Mary of Nazareth. Let’s not create syncretistic mixtures (…). 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 (Gal 5:29)”. [8]

This is the key to why God cannot overlook the sin of idolatry. In fact, worship is offered to demons who hide behind idols of every kind (cf. 1 Cor 10:20). Now the Catholic Church, as the Spouse of Christ, is especially called to teach mankind the true worship of God and salvation in Christ. When public idolatrous worship takes place in the See of the universal Church and in the presence of her supreme representative, this is an abomination and a false and deceptive sign, both for the faithful and for all humanity.

In this regard, I would like to recall that only a few weeks after this event, the coronavirus crisis began, as a result of which churches were closed, public worship was interrupted, and even St. Peter’s Square was temporarily emptied. I will return to this issue in the context of the “fifth wound”.

I am aware that some of the faithful will not find it easy to digest the reflections I am giving in this series on the “Five Wounds on the Body of Christ”. After all, these are concrete transgressions that are taking place within our Holy Church and at the top of her hierarchy. However, from my point of view, it is an inescapable duty to raise one’s voice when one perceives the influence of the powers of darkness and finds that those who occupy the highest offices have fallen under its sway.

A public act in the See of the Catholic Church that attacks the first and most important of the commandments is a grave transgression that requires public expiation, even if one is not aware of it.

Don Nicola Bux, a renowned Italian theologian and former Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in this regard: [9]

“If it is the clergy themselves who put an idol on the throne in caricature of the true God and the work of Satan, then, as the Scriptures teach, the Lord will surely leave the temple, and a cleansing will be necessary to bring Him back. The temple is a symbol of our soul: if we defile it with demonic acts, the Holy Spirit gives it up. Let us not forget what the apostle writes in admirable words: ‘He who spoils the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy and you are’ (1 Cor 3:17).”

Don Nicola Bux then suggests: “Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Order of the Sacraments, could perform an exorcism in St. Peter’s Basilica, thus purifying the basilica”.

In the meantime, Cardinal Sarah is no longer Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and, unfortunately, the proposal of Don Nicola Bux was not implemented.

We cannot close our eyes: the Pachamama cult, which has not yet been atoned for, weighs heavily on the Church and on the present pontificate. This transgression cannot be justified or relativized.
It must be atoned for and publicly corrected by the Pope. So far, this has not happened, and looking at the course of events, we cannot expect Pope Francis to do so either, unless the miracle of conversion and recognition of these errors takes place. Certainly we can pray earnestly that this will happen.

Meanwhile, the third wound in the body of the Church, like the first two, continues to bleed.

Although a young Austrian had the courage to remove the Pachamama figures from the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina and throw them into the Tiber in a prophetic act; although there have been various more hidden acts of reparation by the faithful who have felt the gravity of this abomination in the Vatican, this is not enough. Some of the consequences that such abominations usually entail may have been mitigated, but the abyss has not yet been closed.

Here again we see the same spirit that attacked the sacred sacraments through the ambiguous passage of Amoris Laetitia and distorted the missionary mandate of Christ through the Abu Dhabi Declaration. The abomination in the holy place is an unmistakable sign of its destructive presence in the Church.

It is necessary to renounce this spirit and to fight it with the spiritual weapons at our disposal.
The faithful will have to make an act in relation to the current pontificate, similar to the one made by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider in regard to the Pachamama cult:

“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”. [10]



[2] As the first commandment, God said to His people through Moses: “I am the Lord your God (…) You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20:2-5).





[7] Interview: “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo, 24. October 2019:




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