Pachamama image used as monstrance in Mexican parish

The pachamama monstrance at St. John Macias parish in Zapopan, Mexico. The pachamama monstrance at St. John Macias parish in Zapopan, Mexico.

The “pachamama” or “mother earth” image which accompanied various activities during the 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome was recently used as a monstrance in a church in Mexico.

Pictures posted by Fr. José Luis González Santoscoy on  Facebook and later deleted, show the monstrance in the shape of the pachamama, a naked pregnant woman, carrying the Eucharist in her womb.

The photos were taken inside St. John Macías parish in Zapopan, immediately west of Guadalajara.

Contacted by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, Fr. González said, "I have absolutely no comment," adding that "the issue has already been discussed with my bishop, with my authorities."

The Archdiocese of Guadalajara has not issued a statement on the incident.

Fr. Juan Pedro Oriol, pastor of St. John Macías parish, pointed out that he didn’t know about or authorize the use of the monstrance in the shape of the pachamama.

"I left on Monday (June 28) for a few days of vacation and this was done without my knowledge and without my permission," he said, stressing that it is "really disgusting for me, enormously so."

Fr. Oriol pointed out that "this monstrance obviously does not belong to the parish," and that "in our parish the same monstrance is always used, and we expose the Blessed Sacrament every day."

“During this vacation I am actually trying to find a similar monstrance, a little newer, but we have never used another monstrance other than the one we have in our sacristy and we use it every day for the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and also when we have nocturnal adoration or special holy hours,” the pastor said.

Pachamama is a deity of the Andes. During the 2019 Amazon Synod it was presented as if it belonged to the Amazonian cosmovision.

On October 4, 2019, at an event organized in the Vatican Gardens by the Panamazonian Ecclesiastical Network (REPAM) along with the Catholic Movement for Climate, some of the attendees performed an indigenous ritual which included two nude female figures carved in wood, which a few days later were identified as pachamamas.

They had been also described as representing “Our Lady of the Amazon,” and some journalists initially suggested they represented the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The images were later set up and displayed on an altar in the Carmelite church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.

On Oct. 21 two men stole at least five wooden carvings of the pachamama from the Santa Maria church and threw them into the Tiber.

The images were subsequently retrieved by the Italian police and Pope Francis later apologized for the incident, stating the images were used “without idolatrous intentions.”

In November 2019, the bishop emeritus of Marajó, José Luis Azcona, denounced the “idolatry” and the “scandal” surrounding the controversial pachamama images which were present at events of the Amazon Synod.

That same month, Fr. Hugo Valdemar, canon penitentiary of the Archdiocese of Mexico, as an act of reparation, burned several paper replicas of the pachamama image while a person standing next to the priest held up an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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