Many Catholics are just now awaking from what seemed like a surreal dream, or rather a hellish nightmare. The Pan-Amazonian Synod mercifully stumbled past the finish line at the end of October, and now the revolutionary attack on the Church will continue in earnest, sans grating daily press conferences and Pachamama denials.
First, a caveat. If perchance a Vatican official reads this and assumes I am a well funded right-wing Catholic elitist, I am not — though, I confess, the title does have a certain appeal. I am just a lowly but faithful (rigid) Catholic. So spare yourself a search for my Wikipedia page.
What exactly happened in Rome last month?
October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, was a fitting commencement. It was a personal day of fasting for the synod, which was prophetic because had I eaten, the food might have ended up on my computer screen. I speak about the notorious Vatican garden video, where an amalgam of woke spiritualists, evidently not professional dancers, prostrated themselves before those carved images of naked pregnant women. Like a plague of locusts, or enlightened liturgists, the Pachamamas had arrived.
The First Commandment is simple: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any other gods besides me. It is not just an Old Testament sentiment. Ask any true exorcist how violating this Commandment can lead to demonic infestations, obsessions, and even possessions. So how could the Pachamama proceedings be so blatant?
It doesn’t matter what we might think, for we were told what to think. First, these carved images were, in fact, simply hideously naked statues of Our Lady and St. Elizabeth — which would, as a clear insult against what is spotless and holy to God, violate the First Commandment. Next, we were told these naked statues were just harmless representations of Mother Earth (but not Pachamama, which translates into English as Mother Earth). They were then placed prominently in a Catholic church — a scandalous depredation contrary to the First Commandment. Finally, we came full circle when Pope Francis clarified that the carved images were indeed Pachamama idols — that being a grave offense against the First Commandment.
This describes the muddled and confused human comedy of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, which will surely be remembered as one of the most embarrassing misfortunes in Church history.
Examples abound. One evening, my wife and I were sitting in the living room. She was nursing our new baby, Jude. I was reading a report from the fearless reporter George Neumayr. Jude evidently was nursing as if he had been fasting all day in reparation and needed to make up for lost time.
“Jude nurses like a pig, wouldn’t you say?” I commented to my wife.
Before she could reply, I showed her an image from the Church of Santa Maria of Traspontina in Rome, the one of a woman nursing an animal.
“Is this woman nursing a pig?” I wondered. “Or maybe a weasel?”
Apparently, it was the wrong picture to show a sacrificial mother dutifully nursing her child. Mothers, especially those existing on negligible sleep, get irritated when their role of motherhood is derided. It’s all interconnected, you know.
Further synodal incredulity came in the form of Austrian-born Bishop Erwin Kräutler, one of the main spokesmen at the Synod. Kräutler, when pressed by reporter Ed Pentin, admitted that a goal of the synod was to work toward legitimizing the (impossible) ordination of women. Kräutler is the same man who has bragged that as a bishop in the Amazonian region, he never baptized a single person. Priestesses apparently are needed in the Amazon, but to do what, we cannot say. Is it a pseudo–Amoris Laetitia situation, where priestess will distribute Holy Communion to the non-baptized? Or perhaps worse, are they needed in the Amazon to give Holy Communion to weasels?
Thankfully, not everything was ridiculous. The biggest splash at the synod came from another Austrian man, Alexander Tschugguel, who helped swipe five Pachamama statues from Catholic churches and send them plummeting down into the Tiber River. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Predictably, the synod ended on another sour note. Pope Francis triumphantly proclaimed that the Pachamamas had been recovered, and they would make an appearance at the final Mass for the synod (which they never did). As visions of a massive Blues Brothers Pachamama search operation involving police helicopters, SWAT team members, firefighters, and army personnel flooded my mind, I looked at my wife with a smirk.
“No,” she admonished me, “don’t say what you’re thinking!”
“Well, do you want to bet that someone finds the real Pachamamas in a few weeks?”
What a tragedy we’ve come to, that one’s first reaction to words from the pope is to believe they are untrue.
It didn’t take a few weeks. All it took was a quick walk to the original site of the Pachamama tossing to notice that one of the carved images never in fact made it into the Tiber River, nor to the Italian police office, but was still resting on the rocks. The Italian Carabinieri are not exactly the legendary Royal Canadian Mounted Police when it comes to finding their man, or Pachamama.
These are but a few of the surreal impressions we are left with following the 2019 Pan-Amazonian Synod. If Mark Twain popularized the aphorism that truth is stranger than fiction, the synod proved it. If nothing else, the synod was entertaining. You could even say it was one big joke.
But a word of hope to conclude, as we are left to continue praying and fasting for the Church. Perhaps of equal importance, by the act of the tossing the Pachamamas into the Tiber River, we have been inspired to act in defense of the Church. We have our Faith, and now good works must follow.
To reinterpret Pope Francis’s words: This is good news. Thank you, Jesus.
Image: The DoQmentalist via YouTube.
Dan Millette is a husband and father of five. He teaches in Saskatchewan, Canada. Millette is a graduate from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Ontario and has a Master of Arts degree in theology from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut. His personal blog is www.bravestthing.com.