At the presser for the Amazon Synod today, Vaticanista Sandro Magister said the video of the ceremony in the Vatican gardens before the synod has now gone viral among evangelicals and Pentecostals.
“This video is used as a weapon to accuse the Catholics of being idolaters.” Magister explained to the panel. “What is your judgment about these rituals that were made with these people kneeling before objects…?”
Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, responded:
“We said here that there was no ritual and no prostration took place, we have repeated this here, so we have to be vigorous in saying things that actually happened before cameras, so we have explained that this did not happen.”
He actually got applause for this answer.
At #SinodoAmazonico #AmazonSynod Presser on the ceremony that occurred in the Vatican Gardens on Oct 4th, Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, says "there was no ritual, no prostration [to idols] took place." Cristiane Murray, of Holy See Press office, claps pic.twitter.com/N1WsutYynP
— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) October 25, 2019
What did not happen?
THIS DID NOT HAPPEN:
Except, of course, that it did.
We saw it.
They think we’re stupid.
If you want to watch the video yourself, the pertinent section is linked here. If it doesn’t go to the timestamp, you can see it at 11:10 on the timeline.
So why are we forced to debate what it was that we witnessed?
One observer on Twitter writes:
It seems to me that this gesture — full body bow, forehead to the earth, from kneeling position — is the single *most* submissive worship gesture, historically and cough anthropologically. Short of self immolation.
1P5 contributor Matthew Karmel (AKA @RadicalCath) said in response to the above tweet:
They lose us in the weeds of minutia, when the headline tomorrow should simply read: LIARS!
But we fall for it every time. “Gee, maybe it’s not really a prostration. Am I qualified to determine this? Have I been uncharitable? Much to consider.”
If we allow ourselves to be drawn into this, it will turn into yet another endless debate over whether our eyes have deceived us. Or whether our grip on reality is as firm as we think it is. Just as we’ve debated for weeks now about whether the statues these folks were bowing down to were fertility idols or the Blessed Virgin Mary.
No matter how many times the Vatican says it wasn’t the Blessed Virgin, there are those who continue to argue that yes, it was. After all, one of the ladies present at the ceremony handed a statue to the pope and declared her “Our Lady of the Amazon.” So case closed, I guess?
Only not. When CNA asked REPAM, the organization responsible for putting together the ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, what the statue represented, they deferred to the Vatican spokesman who said it was not the Blessed Virgin:
Fr. Giacomo Costa, a communications official for the Amazon synod, said Wednesday a wooden figure of a nude pregnant woman, which has been present at events related to the synod, is not the Virgin Mary, but is instead a female figure representing life.
“It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary?” Costa said Oct. 16 at a press conference for the Amazon synod, a meeting taking place in the Vatican Oct. 6-27 on the ministry of the Church in the region. …
Cristiane Murray, vice director of the Holy See press office, added that more information about the wooden figure should be sought from REPAM or the organizers of the events where the image has been present.
Mauricio Lopez, REPAM’s executive secretary, told CNA after the press conference that he could not comment on the press conference, directing CNA to Costa’s remarks, as the “official spokesperson” of the Synod. [emphasis added]
Lies. Gaslighting. Misdirection. Obfuscation. This is all we were ever going to get from the Holy See.
Until some brave souls grabbed the statues and threw them in the Tiber. Then we got some explicit condemnations.
Speaking of those statues, if you are anything like me, you thought they should have been burned and broken before being disposed of, because occult objects have a way of turning back up, and as I said in my latest video, “Pachamama floats.”
And so not unsurprisingly, today, the Spanish-language Catholic website Infovaticana reports that the statues have been found by Italian police, the pope has apologized for what was done to them, and he has promised that “on Sunday those images will be in St. Peter’s Basilica at the closing Mass of the Synod.”
I doubt we’ll see anyone bowing down to them again, but if we do, we’re certainly not supposed to believe it.
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.