Members of Amazon indigenous populations walk during a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession from St. Angelo Castle to the Vatican. In the foreground is a wooden statue portraying a naked pregnant woman – AP
A top cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church on Friday took exception to Pope Francis’ controversial support for the display of a Pan-Amazonian “Pachamama” wooden idol on a church altar at the Vatican.
“There isn’t any role for a statue of a pagan goddess on the altar,” declared Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope Benedict XVI.
Mueller spoke in Washington D.C. Friday at a forum hosted by the International Organization for the Family (IOF) and The Sacramental Institute.
On the eve of the three-week Amazonian Synod (conference) of Catholic bishops at the Vatican, four two-foot-tall statues of a pregnant woman were brought to a church where the group of primarily Latin-American bishops would worship.
Experts said the statue was of Pachamama (Mother Earth), a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes.
Last week, the indigenous statues were stolen from the church and dumped in the Tiber River. The Pope promptly apologized for the vandalism and said, “I ask forgiveness to anyone who was offended.”
On Friday, it was announced that local police had recovered the statues and that they would be displayed in church at the closing of the synod on Sunday.
Mueller, 71, sees things differently than the Pope. In his words, “The difference between paganism and faith is clear.”
Citing the words of St. Paul to the Romans, he said that paganism is “the adoration of created things” rather than God. He reminded the audience that “St. Peter [the first Pope] died because he didn’t accept the Roman emperor as a god.”
Considered the right-hand man of fellow German Pope Benedict, Cardinal Mueller stepped down as Prefect in 2014. Three years later, Pope Francis made him a cardinal—the highest position within the Catholic Church (except for Pope) and one that permits him to vote for the next Pope when there is a vacancy.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.