Monday, October 21, 2019

Ambiguous Figures of 'Our Lady of the Amazon' or "Amazonian Life" Thrown into the River

Something incredible happened in Rome. Thieves entered the Santa Maria in Traspontina church just before dawn and stole the carved wooden Amazon figures which were presented to Pope Francis on October 4th as "Our Lady of the Amazon" but were later described in a Amazon Synod presser as a "representation of life. (see:"

Fr Giacomo Costa, a synod official had told a press conference: “It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary?… It is an indigenous woman who represents life.” But another synod official, Fr Roberto Carrasco Rojas OMI has insisted that the statue is a Marian figure. “This figure is the Virgin Mary of the Amazon, Our Lady of the Amazon,” he told Rome Reports. “It’s a devotion that started in the indigenous communities… They carved in wood an image of a blessed mother, who is pregnant.” However, Bishop David Martínez De Aguirre Guinea told reporters at an press briefing on October 7 this: “Probably, those who used this symbol wished to refer to fertility, to women, to life, the life present among these Amazonian people and Amazonia is meant to be full of life. I don’t think we need to create any connections with the Virgin Mary or with a Pagan element.”

So-called traditionalist bloggers and podcasters such as Dr. Taylor Marshall and Michael Voris have called the figure "Pachamama" or a pagan goddess. I have not found any Vatican offical call the figure by this name. It derives solely from traditionalist and conservative squares. Moreover, the images of "pachamama" do not match the ones presented at the Vatican. Pachamama is often depicted as a heavy set indigenous woman. Other depictions show her as pregnant or as a mountain figure.

Here are the videos:

The video has this caption:

“for only one reason: Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, his blessed Mother, and everybody who follows Christ, are being attacked by members of our own Church. We do not accept this! We do not longer stay silent! We start to act NOW!” [sic]
“Because we love humanity, we can not accept that people of a certain region should not get baptised and therefore are being denied entrance into heaven,” the caption continues. “It is our duty to follow the words of God like our holy Mother did. There is no second way of salvation. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!”

The act was described by Vatican officials as a "stunt" and "theft." Ruffini said, "is a gesture that seems to me to contradict the spirit of dialogue that should always animate everything. I don't know what else to say. It was theft." He added of the incident, “seems to me to contradict the gesture of dialogue." Fr. Costa said that the images represents life in the Amazon like "glass of water or parrots" represents the region. Focus on the statues, and the gesture of throwing them into the Tiber river, doesn't make sense. However, it is never constructive to steal an object."

Here is some reaction on Twitter. Many Catholics celebrated the theft and dumping of the statues. Others have interpreted as a sign of xenophobia:

As you can see, many Catholics are happy that the images were stolen and thrown into the river. They see the images as idols or even a demon which was enthroned at the Vatican. However, not everyone was happy. Some consider the act as an act of xenophobia and racism. A Jesuit priest even reported Deacon Nick, Dr. Taylor and others for this:

As I stated before, I am not sure what the images are. They were presented as Our Lady of the Amazon, but then were presented as a female figure representing life only to later be described as the Virgin Mary again and then as a figure of the Amazon. It is so confusing. I personally do not believe it is Pachamama. I see no evidence for this and no one at the Vatican nor the Amazon natives have called the figure by this name. The name only can be found from sources within the so-called traditionalist blogosphere and other reactionaries.

What is troubling to me is the celebration of theft and the destruction of property. Let us supposed that, in fact, these were idols and the bloggers are correct. Should we steal things and destroy property? When the Statue of Liberty was proposed as a gift to the United States, Catholic New Yorkers protested heavily because the statue is a pagan goddess Libertas. They felt that this was a celebration and introduction of Paganism into American lives. The protests went nowhere and the frenzy died down. No one saw the statue as a pagan goddess. Even today, no one even identifies the statue as such. The Statue of Liberty stands alone as simply the Statue of Liberty that represents liberty, immigrants, New York and America.

To see Dr. Taylor Marshall and others celebrate the sin of theft is disturbing. What happened to "thou shalt not steal?" He cites events in the past regarding saints and others, but we are not in those times. Are Catholics supposed to enter satanic temples now and bash the heads of satanic statues? Are Catholics supposed to now go and destroy Buddha statues? Is this the norm he wants? This is crazy talk. Furthermore, the charge about xenophobia and racism is not one we can ignore. Even if this figure is not the Virgin Mary, we have to be concerned about the hate being demonstrated by whites against indigenous people. Virgin Mary or not, the image is representative of a culture, of a people. To trash it and speak ill of it is pretty much a reflection xenophobia and hate. This issue has to be looked into greatly. If this image is finally decided by the Vatican as representing the Virgin Mary as the Amazonians interpret her, then Taylor and company are in big trouble. They will have to answer to the charges of racism and xenophobia.

We should also be concerned about copycats looking to make a statement, as well as, the fact that this church has no security.  How can this Vatican landmark not have security?

The group behind the Amazon Synod will be charging the men and is looking to identify them:

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