Friday, October 25, 2019



CNS photo/Paul Haring

I am sending the same three photos again, because Pope Francis today spoke of these wooden images.

The Pope gave a brief talk in the Synod Hall (text below) on the finding by Italian police of these wooden images, which had been tossed into the Tiber River at dawn on Monday, October 21.

And the Pope suggested, citing, in a round about way, a message from the Roman police official in charge of the investigation, that the images might be brought into St. Peter’s Basilica this Sunday to be present during the the closing Mass of the Bishops’ Synod on the Amazon, to be celebrated on October 27.

The fact that the Pope is suggesting that the images — thought by thousands of Catholics to be inappropriate, and perhaps sacrilegious (it is not clear even now exactly what the images are or represent, because no one has definitively explained whether they are indigenous art works or pagan religious idols) — may be brought into St. Peter’s Basilica, the very center of the Church, to be present during the final Mass of the Synod, suggests that the Pope wishes to insist that there is nothing inappropriate, let alone sacrilegious, about these images.

We do not yet know if the images will be present Sunday, but the Pope said today that he would ask his Secretary of State to look into the matter.

Here again are the images:

Top, a carved wooden image of a pregnant woman which was in the first chapel at the back of the Church of St. Mary in Traspontina in Rome from October 4 to October 21, as the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon Region has been held. (I went to the church and saw the images there.)

Critics asked why this image, said to be a fertility image, or a type of idol, was placed in a Catholic church, on the floor of a chapel, just in front of the altar. Many comments on the internet by Catholic observers expressed concern that these images constituted a profanation of the church.

This same image was also present in the Vatican Gardens on October 4, when a ceremony took place, attended by Pope Francis, which included a tree-planting. (link)

Middle, the image and two others like it in the arms of an unknown man who took it out of the church just before dawn on October 21 and threw it into the Tiber River from the Ponte Sant’Angelo.

A video taken by the man, and a second man with him, was posted on the internet on the morning of October 21. The video showed the images being removed from the church, carried to the bridge, and thrown into the river. (link)

Bottom, the image on the bridge just before it was pushed over the edge and into the water. The sun had not yet risen, so the time was just before dawn, which came that day at 7 a.m.

This sets the time of these events between about 6:30 and 7 a.m. on October 21.

And into St. Peter’s?

This afternoon in Rome a rumor began to circulate that Pope Francis had issued an apology for the display this month in a Roman church of the naked images of a pregnant women.

The images were present in the back of the Church of St. Mary in Traspontina, not far from St. Peter’s Square, for two weeks this month, until they were taken out of the church by two Catholic men on October 21 at dawn and tossed into the Tiber River. (See my previous email).

The news agency I.Media sent out a tweet that Pope Francis had issued the apology in the Synod Hall this afternoon. (See this report by Marco Tosatti, in Italian.)

Then, this evening, it turned out that the report had been misunderstood. (See this second report by Tosatti, link.)

The Pope’s remarks were not apologizing for the display of the images, but rather said the precise opposite: Francis, as Bishop of Rome, was apologizing to all those who felt offended by the dawn action of the two Catholic men who took the images from the church of St. Mary in Traspontina and tossed them into the Tiber River.

More significantly, the Pope revealed some news: the images have been recovered by Italian police.

And, Francis concluded, he has asked the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to consider a suggestion made by the Italian police: that perhaps the Vatican may ask the police to hand over the recovered images so that they may be brought into St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, October 27, to be present at the closing Mass of the Amazon Synod.

A clear report

Below is a clear report on this matter as posted a short time ago by the Catholic website Rorate Caeli. (link)

The Latin words “Rorate caeli” are the opening words of a text from Isaiah 45:8 in the Vulgate, used in Advent, which is of course dedicated to the Incarnation, and mean “Drop down (dew) ye heavens (from above)…”

In the old Catholic liturgy, the verse and response were:

℣ Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.

(“Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just.”)

℟ Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem.

(“Let the earth be opened and send forth a Savior.”)

The Rorate Mass got its proper name from the first word of the Introit (Entrance antiphon): “Rorate caeli désuper et nubes pluant justum” (“Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just”). Before the liturgical changes that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), this Mass was celebrated very early in the morning on all Saturdays. In some areas, it was celebrated on several or even all weekdays during Advent (the Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent).

The Rorate Caeli Report (link)

Francis Defiant in Defense of Pagan Idols: Will Bring Out Pagan Idols for Worship at Saint Peter’s

At the end of Synod works this Friday (that is, today), Francis spoke on the pagan idols that were being displayed at various Synod events and permanently at various altars at the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, near the Vatican.

Francis first asked “forgiveness” to those who were offended by the action of those who removed the pagan idols from the church and threw them in the Tiber.

He then assured those present that there had not been “idolatry” in the worship and display of the pagan idols, that they had been recovered, and were now under the care of the police. He also said the pagan idols will be brought to Saint Peter’s basilica for the closing ceremony of the Synod, this Sunday.

(Various sources, incl. I-Media)

Update: The actual words of Francis

By Pope Francis, October 25, 2019, speaking to the Synod delegates

Good afternoon, I would like to say a word about the pachamama statues that were removed from the Church at Traspontina, which were there without idolatrous intentions and were thrown into the Tiber.

First of all, this happened in Rome and, as bishop of the diocese, I ask pardon of the people who were offended by this act.

Then, I can inform you that the statues which created so much media clamor were found in the Tiber. The statues are not damaged.

The Commander of the Carabinieri [Italian police] wished to inform us of the retrieval before the news becomes public. At the moment the news is confidential, and the statues are being kept in the office of the Commander of the Italian Carabinieri.

The leadership of the Carabinieri will be very happy to follow any indication given on the method of making the news public, and regarding the other initiatives desired in its regard, for example, the commander said, “the display of the statues at the closing Mass of the Synod.” We’ll see.

I delegate the Secretary of State who will respond to this.

This is good news, thank you.

—Pope Francis

(Pope’s words provided by Matteo Matzuzzi; translation by LifeSiteNews)

Here below are the actual words of Francis in Italian:

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