A wooden statue of a pregnant woman is pictured in the Church of St. Mary in Traspontina. Several copies of the statue were stolen from the church and thrown into the Tiber River. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

Thieves steal controversial Amazon Synod statues and toss them in river

Two men entered a Catholic Church near the Vatican early Oct. 21 and stole copies of a statue of a pregnant woman that had been a centrepiece of several prayer services connected to the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

In a video shared with bloggers and Catholic news outlets that have complained about the statue being a pagan symbol, the two men set the statues on the railing of a bridge over the Tiber River and knocked them in, watching them float away.

The statues of a kneeling pregnant woman “represented life, fertility, Mother Earth,” Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, told reporters.

Stealing the statues and throwing them in the river, he said, “is a gesture that contradicts the spirit of dialogue.”

“I don’t know what else to say except that it was a theft and perhaps that speaks for itself,” Ruffini said. Police are investigating the theft.

The statues had been kept in several side chapels at the Church of St. Mary in Traspontina where prayer services connected to the synod have been held daily since the gathering began in early October.

The statue was present Oct. 4 when Pope Francis planted a tree in the Vatican gardens and entrusted the synod to St. Francis of Assisi. It was used again Oct. 7 during a prayer and procession from the Basilica of St. Peter to the Vatican synod hall and early Oct. 19 as synod members and supports prayed the Stations of the Cross on the main street leading to St. Peter’s Square.

The video of the theft and news about it spread quickly on Twitter. Taylor Marshall, author of the book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within and a frequent critic of the use of the statue, told Twitter followers “with great joy” that the images had been tossed into the river “as an act of obedience to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ & in reparation to his Sacred Heart wounded by sin.”

Others, however, expressed disgust at the theft and destruction of statues.
Catholic author Dawn Eden Goldstein tweeted, “A sick crime. The statue was in the church to represent life given us by God. Catholic churches are full of allegorical images – pelicans, eagles, fish, human representations of virtues. Yet when Amazonian Catholics designate an image to represent their faith, they are ‘pagan.'”


2 thoughts on “Thieves steal controversial Amazon Synod statues and toss them in river

  1. What IS happening? The synod has been a long, line of catastrophic blunders resembling a slow motion multiple car crash:
    -The debacle of the “Mother Earth” opening ceremony ridiculed around the world,
    -The awkward fact that 80% of the area’s indigenous people live in cities,
    -The disturbing news that of those that actually live in the forests, some practice infanticide,
    -The embarrassing revelations of Vatican finances including millions of €’s stolen from ‘Peter’s Pence’,
    -The relationship between REPAM, the Brazilian Bishops and the Ford Foundation,
    -A secret cabal of South American priests/bishops renewing some kind of Marxist vow in the catacombs. This is all a really embarrassing mess.

  2. A quick internet search will confirm that those were pagan idols. They have no place in a Catholic Church.

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