By ROD DREHER
In October 4 Vatican ceremony, Pope Francis blesses pachamama statue (LifesiteNews)
The statues of the fertility idol that vandals had removed from a Catholic parish in Rome and tossed into the Tiber have been recovered, said Pope Francis. Excerpt from his remarks:
“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.”
So the Pope now affirms that these statues were meant to represent the Incan fertility goddess. Useful to know. He went on to say that they might be displayed at the final mass of the Amazon Synod on Sunday.
There you have it.
On EWTN last night, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who was, until dismissed by Francis, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — that is, the top doctrinal body of the Catholic Church — called the statues “idols,” and said that bringing them into the church was a crime against the law of God. Watch this short clip:
WORLD OVER HOT TAKE: Cardinal Gerhard Mueller on the men in Rome who threw the indigenous “Mother Earth” statues in the Tiber river.
Understand what is happening here: the cardinal who until fairly recently was the top doctrinal official in the Catholic Church is indirectly accusing the Pope of allowing idolatry, and breaking the divine law. If those “pachamama statues” — to use Francis’s own words — turn up at the closing mass of the Synod in St. Peter’s Basilica, it will be seen by many as a profanation of the temple, as an “abomination of desolation,” to use the term of the prophet Daniel, and Jesus of Nazareth.
Many Biblical scholars say that Christ’s warning about the abomination of desolation in the Temple was a prophetic reference to the Roman army attacking Jerusalem and profaning the Temple. This happened in the year 70 AD; the Romans initially intended to capture the Second Temple and turn it into a sanctuary of Emperor worship, but they ended up burning it down. In any event, that was the end of Jewish temple worship.
But some scholars believe that Jesus made a double prophecy, and that just before the Apocalypse, there will be another abomination of desolation in the temple. I am Orthodox, not Catholic; I don’t know if reputable scholars in the Orthodox tradition believe that this was a double prophecy, and if so, what it portends for the Last Days. But if I were a Catholic, and I saw those idols at the final synod mass in St. Peter’s on Sunday, my blood would run cold.
Whatever you think of prophecy, the fact that a senior cardinal — the former head of the CDF! — has called what Pope Francis has blessed a crime against the divine law is a staggering. Last night, I had an exchange on Twitter with a couple of Catholics, including CNA’s excellent editor J.D. Flynn, who wondered why I write in such a crisis mode about events in the Christian world. My answer is: look around you! The crisis is real.
Let me repeat it in a slightly different framing: In the last 24 hours, the Catholic world has seen the Pope call these Amazonian statues by the Mother Earth goddess name — Pachamama — lament their theft from a church, celebrate their recovery, and suggest that they might be present at mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday. It has also seen the former doctrinal chief of the Catholic Church denounce these statues as “idols,” and call the placing of them inside a Catholic Church as a violation of divine law. If that doesn’t tell you that the Catholic Church is in a severe crisis at its very summit, what will it take?
In 2018, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Archbishop of Utrecht, said that Pope Francis’s confusing teaching reminds him of Paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That graf reads as follows:
675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
In this subsequent May 2019 interview with Lifesite News, the Dutch cardinal elaborated:
LifeSite: You used extraordinarily strong words. You spoke of “apostasy inside the Church”. Could you explain what you meant by that?
Eijk: I quoted number 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Because there are cardinals who plead for the blessing of homosexual relationships, I referred to this paragraph of the Catechism as a warning. It states that shortly before Apocalypse, voices will rise within the Church itself, and even among the highest authorities of the Church who will express divergent opinions in relation to Catholic doctrine. I did this as a warning: let us be careful not to find ourselves in this situation. I must say that, to my surprise, Cardinal Müller took up this idea: on February 9 of this year, he published a statement on the fundamental elements of the Catholic faith, in which he also referred to number 675 (2). It is also remarkable that my interview and the full quotation were also taken up by Bishop Gänswein during the presentation of a book by Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option.
All this has reached many people and many have also started to think about it. In this way, I hope to get more and more people in the Church to open their mouths and create clarity, because many Catholics – but you know this as well as I do – are really confused.
In his “Manifesto Of Faith” from earlier this year, Cardinal Müller said:
To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns. It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, “the price of their apostasy” (CCC 675) it is the fraud of Antichrist. “He will deceive those who are lost by all means of injustice, for they have closed themselves to the love of the truth by which they should be saved” (2 Thess: 2-10)
Cardinal Müller later gave an interview about the Manifesto to Catholic World Report, in which he said:
CWR: There has been quite a bit of discussion about your references to apostasy and “the fraud of the Antichrist” (§ 5). Were you suggesting that we may be living through the “last trial of the Church”? And what sort of apostasy, specifically, did you have in mind?
Cardinal Müller: The Antichrist is a figure embodying opposition to Christ. He does not simply appear at the end of history, but emerges in every age as the one who tempts us into the pit and the one who destroys God’s house. Jesus has asked whether he will still find faith when he returns. And sometimes in Church history, it seems as though faith does run out in the Church. In the struggle against ultra-powerful Arianism, which was sustained by public opinion and political power, Saint Athanasius often seems outmaneuvered. Back then, Arianism was modern and Catholicism premodern in the eyes of those whose faith lay in forward progress. As Saint Jerome puts it with a groan, the world awoke and found that it had become Arian. This is the hour of Saint Peter. Jesus told him that Satan has longed to sift the disciples and the whole Church like wheat. Then followed Jesus’ word of tremendous force and relevance, even in this present time of suffering in the Church: “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32).
These are days.