In a video released this morning, a young Austrian Catholic man named Alexander Tschugguel identifies himself as “the guy who threw the Pachamama idols into the river Tiber.”
He explains how he came into contact with the idols after attending conferences in Rome, the steps he took to ascertain their true nature, and the ultimate decision he made after returning home to Austria to travel back to Rome and take a stand for the First Commandment by removing these “graven images” from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.
“They do not belong in a Catholic Church,” Tschugguel says. “They should be outside of the Church.”
On the question of why he’s coming forward now, Tschugguel cites the “millions of rosaries” that have been said by people for those involved with the removal of the idols, and says, “We decided we don’t want to hide. I want to go out to public and tell them, because I don’t want them to think it was a coward action. We didn’t go out earlier because we wanted the action itself being the main point of the discussions and we wanted the people to talk about what happened and not who did it.”
“But now, two weeks later, one week after the Amazon synod. We are ready. We want to face them. We wanted to show them there are some laymen … we stand up, and we don’t longer accept things like that happening in the Catholic Church.”
It strikes me as particularly significant, considering the profound negative influence on the Amazon synod that came from the Austrian-born Bishop Erwin Kräutler, that this heroic act was led by a young Catholic man from Austria. In fact, not just from Austria, but from the city of Vienna, the diocesan see of another compromised prelate, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who played a key role in drafting the synod’s controversial final document.
The faith lives on in central Europe, and that is a very good thing indeed.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.