Maike Hickson

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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Rome, Sept. 2019.

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‘Courageous…prophets of today’: Dubia cardinal praises men who threw Pachamamas in Tiber

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
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'Pachamama' statue on bridge over Tiber river prior to being thrown in, Rome, Oct. 21, 2019.

October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals and a respected Church historian – praised the men who removed the controversial pagan “Pachamama” statues from a church in Rome and threw them into the Tiber River as “courageous...prophets of today.” 

“These two young men who threw these tasteless idols into the Tiber have not committed theft, but have done a deed, a symbolic act as we know it from the Prophets of the Old Covenant, from Jesus – see the cleansing of the Temple – and from Saint Boniface who felled the Thor Oak near Geismar,” said the German cardinal to LifeSiteNews.

The 90-year old former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences added that now these two men “are being accused of theft on the part of the Vatican.” 

“To what grotesque contortions are those capable who find themselves in an utmost embarrassment!” Brandmüller stated.

“These two courageous 'Maccabees' who have removed the 'abomination of desolation in the holy place' are the prophets of today. Spoken in secular terms, I would think that the champagne corks really had to pop here,” he added.

As LifeSiteNews reported, on October 21, two men had gone into Santa Maria in Traspontina Church near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, removed several of the controversial Pachamama statues that had been there on display and then threw them into the Tiber River. On October 25, Pope Francis apologized for this act to those who felt offended, calling these statues “Pachamama statues.” He also considered displaying them during the closing Mass on 27 October, but this did not take place, perhaps also due to resistance from prelates within the synod hall and outside.

Further commenting on the Amazon Synod, Cardinal Brandmüller repeated his critique of the “group of ideologues” who “do not wish to understand the 'celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.'” 

These wish to “bring down celibacy,” he said. According to the German prelate, these people “have been working for this for decades.” The fact that they “merely speak about a special exception for the Amazon, is just a dirty, but obvious trick. It is not about the Amazon – everything is at stake.”

Next to Cardinal Brandmüller, other prelates have also raised their voice of opposition against the display of Pachamama statues in the Vatican. For example, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in an October 24 interview with ETWN's Raymond Arroyo, said that the “great mistake was to bring the idols into the Church, not to put them out, because according to the Law of God Himself – the First Commandment – idolism [idolatry] is a grave sin and not to mix them with the Christian liturgy.”

Putting the removal of the Pachamama statues into perspective he commented: “To put it [the statues] out,” Müller continued, “to throw it out, can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the Church was a grave sin, a crime against the Divine Law.”

José Luis Azcona Hermoso, the Bishop Emeritus of the Brazilian city of Marajó condemned the pagan rituals with the Pachamama statues as “demonic sacrilege,” and Bishop Marian Eleganti of Chur, Switzerland said in comments to LifeSite that, even if the Pope now claims that the Pachamama statues were used “without idolatrous intentions,” “there would still remain the scandal that it at least looks like such [idolatry] and that the Rock of Peter [the Pope] is not at all getting worried about it.” On the contrary, wrote Eleganti, the Pope “even defends those rituals conducted in the Vatican Gardens” which are “alien to Christianity.” 

Finally, Bishop Athanasius Schneider published an October 27 open letter, in which he stated that “Catholics cannot accept any pagan worship, nor any syncretism between pagan beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic Church.”

“The acts of worship of kindling a light, of bowing, of prostrating or profoundly bowing to the ground and dancing before an unclothed female statue, which represents neither Our Lady nor a canonized saint of the Church, violates the first Commandment of God: 'You shall have no other gods before Me,'” he added.

Just like Cardinal Brandmüller, Bishop Schneider compared the men who had thrown the Pachamama statues into the Tiber River with Maccabees and praised them. He calls their action “a highly meritorious, courageous and praiseworthy act of some brave Christian gentlemen,” and adds that “like a new “Maccabees” they acted in the spirit of the holy wrath of Our Lord, who expelled the merchants from the temple of Jerusalem with a whip. The gestures of these Christian men will be recorded in the annals of Church history as a heroic act which brought glory to the Christian name, while the acts of high-ranking churchmen, on the contrary, who defiled the Christian name in Rome, will go down in history as cowardly and treacherous acts of ambiguity and syncretism.”

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.