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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican City State Mint has issued a 10-euro silver coin depicting "Mother Earth" — an image designed for World Earth Day by Bergamo-born sculptor and engraver Luigi Oldani.
While the Numismatic Chronicle interpreted the icon as Madre Terra (Mother Earth), the Vatican portrayed it as "a mother carrying the Earth, to which we owe care and love as if she were a daughter."
The coin, issued Monday, symbolizes the earth's fertility "with long ears of corn" entwined with the mother's plaited hair and evokes "a cross-reference between past and future that becomes timeless, therefore eternal," the publication said.
The Vatican commended the coin as representing, under the pontificate of Pope Francis, "a commitment to take care of the planet," the publication said.
The celebration of life on earth, the Vatican said, "is the project to which the Church intends to offer its support, a grandiose and complex work: promoting international action to guarantee everyone the future, the food they need — both in quantity and quality — so that economic advancement is accompanied by social development, without which there is no real progress," the publication added.
Oldani described his creation in poetic terms, referring to the image as "fertile and fruitful land, fertile and fruitful like a young woman. The earth must be protected like a woman expectantly waiting for a new life. The land must be respected like a mother and her child."
Speaking to Church Militant, English columnist Dcn. Nick Donnelly slammed the Vatican for reiterating its theme of the Amazon fertility goddess Pachamama even after it outraged Catholics at the 2019 Amazon Synod.
"On the first anniversary of the worship of the demonic Pachamama, the Vatican issues a coin explicitly honoring the 'Mother Earth' idol!" Donnelly said.
This is defiant sacrilege against God. The Bible is clear that the worship of nature embodied in feminine idols is abhorrent to the holiness of God," he noted, underscoring Sacred Scripture's categorical repudiation of anthropomorphizing or divinizing of the earth, especially in the context of the Ancient Near Eastern worship of the fertility deity Baal.
This honoring of Pachamama during October — the month Catholics around the world have a special devotion to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary — is an insult to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Penance, penance, penance!
Speaking of the challenge he faced in sketching the illustration for a small coin, Oldani explained how "a multiplicity of volumes had to be 'synthesized,' from that of the planet earth as a symbolic womb defended and looked upon with love by the mother, to the physiognomy of the woman and the smallest details of the ears that adorn her head."
A second coin issued by the Papal Mint is engraved with another leitmotif of Francis' pontificate and is dedicated to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
The five-euro silver coin, designed by illustrator Marco Ventura, depicts "St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, opening his arms wide as a sign of welcome on behalf of the Church to all those migrants and refugees who flee every day from hunger, poverty and conflicts."
The Vatican statement accompanying the coin reads:
The Church asks and begs for assistance in favor of migrants and refugees and hopes to be heard — for the love of Our Lord Jesus, who suffers in all the marginalized, he is a pilgrim, he is in need — among all men of goodwill.
Thus, the coin, combined with the papal emblem, depicts Peter, the prince of the Apostles, who welcomes, protects and provides for all those who take refuge in the Church ... without borders, mother of all, to which it belongs to the privilege of indicating the response of the gospel of mercy, towards a better world.
The silver coins are on sale from Oct. 16 at a price of 69 euros for the 10-euro coin and 58 euros for the five-euro coin.
Faithful Catholics were incandescent after Pope Francis hosted a pagan ceremony Oct. 4, 2019 with Pachamama statuettes in the Vatican Gardens. One of the idols was blessed and laypeople and clergy were photographed bowing to the ground before the idol, which occupied center stage during the conference.
Three days later, Francis prayed in front of Pachamama in St. Peter's Basilica and processed with it into the synod hall.
The pontiff confirmed that the idol was that of "Pachamama" and apologized for the "act of theft" after Austrian Catholic Alexander Tschugguel removed the idols from the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina and threw them into the Tiber river.
Pope Francis defended the use of the Pachamama idol in his apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, explaining that people should "not be quick to describe as superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples."
It is "possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way without necessarily considering it as idolatry," Francis asserted, insisting that a "myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error."