An international group of prominent Catholics has demanded Pope Francis “repent publicly” and issue an apology after he flagrantly disobeyed Biblical teaching and held a pagan ritual on Vatican grounds which featured the worship of an Amazonian fertility goddess.
The petition, signed by 100 clergy, scholars and influential members of the Church, demands that Pope Francis “repent publicly and unambiguously” for participating in the worship of Pachamama, a pagan fertility goddess, during the Amazon Synod at the Vatican last month.
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The group, paraphrasing the Bible, has ordered Pope Francis to repent because “all participation in any form of the veneration of idols is… an objectively grave sin that only God can judge.”
A video of an October 4 ceremony, held in the Vatican Gardens, shows Pope Francis blessing a statue of the naked pagan idol before accepting the goddess as a gift from Amazonian clergy.
A few days later, Pope Francis was seen praying in front of the Pachamama statue at St. Peter’s Cathedral, and then accompanying it in procession into the synod hall.
The pagan worship caused an uproar in the Catholic world. Replicas of the Pachamama statue were later seized from a church near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and thrown into the Tiber River. The act was committed by a man who described the statues as “false idols” that violated Christian teachings.
In response to the incident, Francis asked for “pardon of the people who were offended by this act,” but refused to apologize for degrading the papacy by worshiping false gods, as explicitly forbidden in the Bible.
On Tuesday, Francis issued a cryptic message warning about the dangers of “jealousy, envy [and] rivalry.”
In what has been interpreted as a rebuke to his critics, Francis said: “When you talk badly about someone you destroy them. The tongue is a fearsome weapon – gossip kills, slander kills, but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other.”