Maike Hickson

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Amazon Synod guests bow to wooded statues in Vatican gardens' ceremony prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019, Rome.

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Vatican News alters interview of Amazon Synod’s key organizer approving ‘pagan worship’

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican News, the information system of the Holy See, has scrubbed an interview with Fr. Paulo Suess, one of the key authors of the controversial Amazon Synod's working document, in which he defended the pagan ceremonies that took place in the Vatican during the synod. 

Last week, LifeSiteNews reported on a lengthy interview given by Fr. Suess in which he discussed the heavily criticized pagan ceremonies that took place in the Vatican during the recently concluded Synod, and which were conducted in the presence of Pope Francis.

He said that, “when during the opening ceremony the Pope picked us and the indigenous up at St. Peter's, there was to be seen also a canoe boat. And then someone wrote that this is a pagan rite.” Inside the canoe was a carved wooden statue which has been the center of controversy that critics say is the “Pachamama” fertility idol. “So what,” was Suess's response to the claim that this ceremony was a pagan rite. 

“Even if it would have been a pagan rite, then it is nevertheless a pagan worship of God,” he added.

“A rite always has something to do with worship of God,” continued this professor of Missiology from Brazil. “One cannot dismiss the pagan [rite] as nothing. What is pagan? In our big cities, we are not less pagan than those there in the jungle. One should reflect upon this.” 

It should be noted that Vatican News originally altered the specific words of Suess that were captured by video when it omitted his word “pagan” in the former sentence “then it is nevertheless a pagan worship of God.”

This interview caused a stir among Catholics, since this key architect of the Amazon Synod's working document showed clearly that he has no objections to pagan ceremonies in the Vatican. In his new statement of October 27, Bishop Athanasius Schneider made an explicit reference to this original Suess interview with Vatican News.

However, since LifeSite's report on this controversial interview, Vatican News has removed both the video and audio that had been published along with its report, and it also cut out the entire passage on these words from Suess in the article. The video with the entire interview with Suess is still on the Facebook of Vatican News, but it is not anymore shown on the article itself. And the audio has also been removed, but LifeSite was able to retrieve it in an archived version. Vatican News did not make a note that their article had been updated or altered.

Several outlets have noticed this omission, among them being Infovaticana and Catholic News Agency (CNA). 

This is not the only event where the Vatican has been found to cover up some uncomfortable truths. Another example is the fact that the Prefect of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications, Paolo Ruffini, flatly denied at the press conference of October 25 that at the October 4 pagan ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, there took place a physical prostration before the pagan idol, Pachamama. By way of contrast, Ruffini stated: “There were no rituals. No prostration took place. We have repeated this here. We have to be rigorous in saying things that actually happened before cameras. We said that this did not happen.”

Another example is the recurrent refusal by speakers during the Vatican's press conferences – among them Mr. Ruffini himself – to acknowledge that the wooden statues of a pregnant, naked woman are Pachamama statues. They, instead, called the statues “a symbol of fertility and life.” In the end, it was Pope Francis himself who, on October 25 in the synod hall, called the statues “Pachamama statues.” 

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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.