Rorate Caeli

The Mother of God and Pachamama: The Sign of the Church in Crisis

Pachamama.  Mamapacha.  One knows when things get to a point of desperation when one wishes that he were one of the populi Romani who ditched the fertility idols into the Tiber.  Their mistake is that they did not use weights to make sure they sunk into the muck of the Tiber.  Even the liberal press in the United States is embarrassed by the spectacle of the Pope and Cardinals and bishops staring at the fertility images in the Vatican Gardens as if this were something serious being contemplated.  This is one time when I am grateful to the New York Times for not highlighting the idiocy into which those who are running the Catholic Church have fallen.

Apparently the Reverend Cardinals and Bishops sitting in the Vatican Gardens staring at the Pachamamas with the Bishop of Rome in a spirit of deep openness to the Indigenous Other have not read, at least recently, the Old Testament, which at least partly is a history of the Israelites and their serial denial of their God in Covenant by adopting the worship of wooden and stone idols of the peoples among which they lived.  The triumph of Elijah over the priests of the idols and false god Baal did not come to their collective minds as they sat there and contemplated the fertility goddess Pachamama.

A sense of irony is not strong among these prelates who as Catholics are blind to the blasphemy of putting these idols in a Catholic church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a stone’s throw from the tomb of Peter, Apostle and Martyr.  One wonders if these men think at all, think about anything, let alone the Faith that they have sworn to defend and uphold.  To be charitable, they must have been drugged to have sat in the Gardens engaged in a deep contemplation of Pachamama. If only one of them had started giggling at this foolishness.  Perhaps the rest would have joined in the laughter and the spell of the Pachamama would have been broken. Perhaps they went to dinner that evening on the Borgo Pio and laughed heartily over copious amounts of good wine. I hope so.

We could not have arrived at this point in the history of the Catholic Church unless the Great Lobotomy following the Second Vatican Council had not been performed by the surgeons in charge of the Great Forgetting of the People of God, for whom two millennia of Church History and Faith and Worship were blotted out and in its place was put the Beast of the 1960’s slouching to an evacuation of the Ultimate Seriousness and Real Joy of the Catholic faith.  Please forgive the Germanic use of capitalization in the last sentence, but how else to convey the disaster that has occurred?  There is only one time in the history of the Church that compares to what we are going through today:  the time when most of the bishops of the Church were Arian heretics.  But today where are the champions?  The great majority of the bishops are silent in the face of the Pachamama stupidity, whose purpose is to get rid of priestly celibacy and to ordain women as deacons, the first step to women priests.  I came to the Catholic Church from the Episcopal Church.  I came into the Catholic Church because I came to believe, through the Church Fathers and through my mentor, St. John Henry Newman, that there is only one Church that is continuous with the Church founded by Jesus Christ and that is the Roman Catholic Church.  My love for the Catholic Church has grown through the 37 years I have been Catholic and through the more than 35 years I have been a Catholic priest.  Pachamama can never make me doubt the reality and the truth of the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ.  But I shall never acquiesce in any attempt to make the Catholic Church a bigger version of the Episcopal Church.   I will continue to fight against those who in the end want a church whose clergy are not bound by the Catholic understanding of sexuality and marriage, whose liturgy is earthbound and  devoid of the Real Presence of Christ, and whose embrace of the world denies the heart of the Faith that is the Cross of Jesus Christ.

I was in Rome just recently, and as always I talk to the taxi driver who takes me from Fiumicino to Rome.  Shortly after the present Pontiff was elected I asked the taxi driver what he thought about the new Pope. After a little silence, he said that the new Pope was “furbo”.  The translation of that word I will leave to those who read this.  This last trip I asked the same question of the taxi driver.  He prefaced his answer with the statement: “Sono credente”. “ I am a believer”.  This in contrast with many Italians for whom the Catholic Church is a club they belong to culturally but has no meaning in their lives.  And then he said about the Pope: “E molto sbagliato”.  Again, figure out the translation for yourself.

We must pray for Pope Francis, sincerely and without reservation. We must pray for the Cardinals and Bishops who seem to have no male equipment or spiritual equipment to stand up to the patent nonsense that spouts forth from Synods and press conferences.  Our heavenly intercessor at this time must be St. John Henry Newman.  His words at his Bigletto Speech upon receiving the Cardinal’s hat must be the basis of quod faciendum est.

In a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of Saints, viz., that error cannot be found in them; but what I trust that I may claim all through what I have written, is this,—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve Holy Church, and, through Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.

Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. {65} Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.

Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla