On today's trip through the Blogosphere, I came across another interesting piece at Insanity Bytes' blog expressing disgust at having to explain some basics of the Christian faith to some very deluded schismatics at her church. Then, lo and behold, I received an e-mail from an otherwise reputable Catholic organization with a petition demanding that Pope Francis publicly repent of---imagine this---idol worship.
To be candid here, I ignored this story when it came out in October, because it was such obviously fake news; and the usual anti-Catholic writers among the Alt-RINOs were fanning it. But that it actually has gotten some traction within the Church is disturbing.
The background to this story happened in the Vatican State late last month while Pope Francis was hosting a Synod---or Bishop's Conference---dealing with issues that the Church faced in South America. A group of Christians from one of the Indian tribes in the Amazon Interior made a pilgrimage to the Holy See and presented the Pope with a display representing Christian motifs, according to the traditions of their indigenous arts. The Pope blessed the gift and installed it in the Church of Santa Maria.
All Christians are familiar with these kinds of things. I've seen Eskimo Nativity Scenes carved out of whale bones depicting Jesus being born in an igloo with a polar bear and a caribou replacing the ox and ass, for example. And after the Pope's blessing, the Indians gathered in a prayer circle.
Later though that night, two fanatics broke into the church and stole the images and threw them into the Tiber River. They were whipped into a frenzy by fake news claiming that the images were idolatrous. The Italian police apprehended them and divers later recovered the stolen artifacts. The Pope announced the news at the end of Liturgy.
One would think that none of this was especially controversial; but some other hotheads noticed that the word that Francis used in the announcement to describe them, Pachamama, and claimed with no proof whatsoever that the name referred to a pagan earth goddess worshiped by the Indians. Actually, it was the name of an ancient Inca goddess which, over time, came to refer to female religious icons indiscriminately. Also, it is the same word employed by the Italian Media to describe them.
What this whole ugly episode has, or rather is revealing, is that Francis has enemies within the Church who will latch onto any incident to bring him down. They're a lot like the foes of President Trump in the American Media who rush into every White House Press Conference with such rage blinding their eyes that they lose coherence and usually end up making fools of themselves. This is what is going to happen to Francis' foes too, and they'll only divide the Church for purely political gain and give all Conservative Catholics a bad name.
For anyone who wants a comprehensive and intelligent perspective on the controversy, Dr. Pedro Gabriel has written some thoroughly-researched articles on the subject. As for the visiting Indians, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were happy to return to the jungle, away from the inanities of so-called Civilization.