VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Amazonian bishop is denouncing the "demonic sacrileges" taking place in Rome, confirming that the controversial fertility figure dubbed "Pachamama" is indeed a pagan goddess.
Bishop José Luis Azcona, Emeritus Bishop of Marajó in the Amazon region, is condemning the pagan rites surrounding the idol as "demonic sacrileges that produce scandal."
"In those rituals there is the devil, there is magic. Our Lady is not the Pachamama, she is the Virgin of Nazareth,” the Spanish-born prelate thundered in a 45-minute sermon given Oct. 16 in the Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth, Belem, in the Amazonian state of Para, Brazil.
Bishop Azcona, who in August called the synod's Instrumentum Laboris (working document) a "document of straw," referred to REPAM's pre-synodal meeting in Brazil last June during which several "indigenous rituals with invocations and prayers in which some bishops also participated" took place.
REPAM is a Catholic network that advocates on behalf of Amazonians and is headed by Cdl. Claudio Hummes, relator general of the Amazon Synod, and a proponent of ordaining women deacons and making exemptions to clerical celibacy.
"These are fundamental issues and here in the Amazon we know the meaning of Macumba or Condomblè," said Bp. Azcona, lashing out at the Vatican ceremony. "They are magical rites and curses, coming from northeastern Brazil and the state of Bahia, which are frequent here."
Delivering his homily in Portuguese, Bp. Azcona affirmed that "these celebrations depend on the spirits that are evoked and it is evident that this is witchcraft, from which the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians warns us, in chapter 5, verse 29, when he denounces the sin of idolatry that is incompatible with the Gospel and with mission."
The bishop likened the idols "venerated in the Vatican" to the Anatolian mother goddess Cybele and to the Hellenic goddess Astarte: "Both express the fertility of women."
"The invocation of the statuettes in front of which even some religious have bowed in the Vatican (and I will not mention the religious order to which they belong) is the invocation of the mythical power of Mother Earth, to which they are asking blessings upon humanity or offering gestures of gratitude," he insisted. "These are scandalous demonic sacrileges, especially for the little ones who can't discern."
"Mother earth should not be worshiped because everything, even the earth, is under the dominion of Jesus Christ," he said. "It is not possible that there are spirits with a power equal to or greater than that of Our Lord or that of the Virgin Mary."
In a homily punctuated by applause from a packed congregation, the prelate declaimed:
Pachamama is not and never will be the Virgin Mary. To say that statue represents the Virgin is a lie. She is not the Lady of the Amazon because the only Lady of the Amazon is Mary of Nazareth. Let's not make syncretistic mixes. All this is impossible: the Mother of God is the Queen of Heaven and earth.
In a subtle reference to Pope Francis, Azcona called for the discernment of the Holy Spirit to distinguish what comes from the devil or from the human mind, noting that the Holy Father talked a great deal about discernment.
The Amazonian bishop's sermon will be seen as a rebuke to liberal Western Catholic media who have attacked the traditional Catholic opposition to the idols as "shameful racist and sexist."
Last month, Bp. Azcona criticized the Instrumentum Laboris for promoting neo-Pelagian heresy and said that it had completely ignored the real issues of the Amazonian region: Pentecostalism and pedophilia.
Calling child abuse a "dramatic, piercing problem, of which the document does not speak" and "which reaches impressive levels," the bishop spoke of how this victimization constituted "an essential part of theabandoned and destroyed face of Jesus in the Amazon."
In Pará alone in one year there were 25,000 reports of crimes of pedophilia, while experts said that for every case of child sex abuse reported there are four others unreported, Bp. Azcona observed.
"Where is the pastoral sensitivity on the part of those responsible for the Instrumentum Laboris so obvious and so firmly expressed by the Holy Father Pope Francis?" he asked.
"The Amazon, at least the Brazilian Amazon, is no longer Catholic," because it "has a Pentecostal majority," the bishop noting that "in some regions of Amazonia the Pentecostal majority reaches 80%."
Returning to the theme of the demonic, he lamented that "nowhere in the Instrumentum Laboris is there talk of the presence of demons or their influence, of their wickedness in people, peoples and cultures, as well as the victory of Christ, His liberation and destruction of the power of the Malignant," cautioning that the Amazon Synod ran the risk of fomenting schism.
Meanwhile, Brazilian sources have told Church Militant that the syncretism exposed at the synod is only the tip of the iceberg and such pagan practices have deeply penetrated Catholicism under the guise of inculturation.
This is one reason why Catholics are leaving the Church and joining Pentecostal and evangelical groups, they said.
At the investiture of Moisés Atisha, bishop of Arica, Chile, the bishops participated in an indigenous ritual invoking the spirits of the pagan Aymara Indians.
In a YouTube video, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, biblical scholar who directed the Italian Catholic Bible project and former president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, can be seen participating in a pagan Pachamama ritual in San Marcos Sierras, Argentina.