WATCH: A Fantastic Theological Review of the Amazon Synod

A complete theological analysis of this Synod would take many lectures, not just one, so I will have to be selective and brief. My talk today will have four parts. First, I will discuss the violations of the first Commandment that took place at the Vatican. This will segue into part 2, on the concept of inculturation. Then part 3 will take up the proposal to abolish mandatory clerical celibacy, and part 4, the proposal to ordain female deacons or deaconesses.


I imagine that the first thing on everyone’s mind is the commission of sins of idolatry that punctuated the Synod. The Ten Commandments are listed in order of importance. Think about what that means: having false gods is a sin worse than adultery or murder. For this reason I did not hesitate to add my signature to the signatures of a hundred other scholars and pastors on the recent “Protest against Pope Francis’s Sacrilegious Acts,” dated November 9 and released November 12. Before continuing, we must define a key term. “Pachamama” is a South American fertility goddess or divinity, venerated for centuries by pagans, by poorly evangelized or catechized Christians, and, more recently, by some New Age cults.

The protest lists the following sacrilegious acts:

  1. On October 4, Pope Francis attended an act of idolatrous worship of Pachamama.
  2. He allowed this worship to take place in the Vatican Gardens, desecrating the vicinity of the graves of the martyrs and of the church of the Apostle Peter.
  3. He participated in this act of idolatrous worship by blessing a wooden image of Pachamama.
  4. On October 7, the idol of Pachamama was placed in front of the main altar at St. Peter’s and then carried in procession to the Synod Hall. Pope Francis said prayers in a ceremony involving this image and then joined in this procession.
  5. When wooden images of this pagan deity were removed from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, where they had been sacrilegiously placed, and thrown into the Tiber by Catholics outraged by this profanation of the church, Pope Francis, on October 25, apologized for their removal and another wooden image of Pachamama was returned to the church. Thus, a new profanation was initiated.
  6. On October 27, in the closing Mass for the synod, he accepted a bowl used in the idolatrous worship of Pachamama and placed it directly on the altar.

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