An international group of Catholic priests and scholars have called on Pope Francis to issue a public apology for holding a ritual on Vatican grounds which included the worship of a pagan fertility goddess.
The petition, signed by 100 clergy, scholars and influential members of the Church, demanded that the pontiff “repent publicly and unambiguously” for participating in the worship of Pachamama, a pagan fertility goddess, during the Amazon Synod at the Vatican last month. The group noted that “all participation in any form of the veneration of idols is… an objectively grave sin that only God can judge.”
This morning in the Vatican Gardens, Indigenous leaders of the Amazon offered up prayers for the Earth, in a ceremony where Pope Francis consecrated the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod to St. Francis of Assisi
A few days later, the Pope prayed in front of the Pachamama statue at St. Peter’s Cathedral, and then accompanied it in procession into the synod hall.
The ceremonies caused an uproar in the Catholic world. Replicas of the Pachamama statue were later seized from a church near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and thrown into the Tiber River. The deed was committed by a man who described the statues as false idols that violated Catholic teachings. In response to the incident, Francis asked for “pardon of the people who were offended by this act.”
On Tuesday, Francis issued a cryptic statement warning about the dangers of “jealousy, envy [and] rivalry.”
In what has been interpreted as a rebuke to his critics, the pontiff said: “When you talk badly about someone you destroy them. The tongue is a fearsome weapon – gossip kills, slander kills, but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other.”
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