Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Pope Francis apologises over theft of Amazon statues from church in Rome

The pontiff asked for forgiveness and said the indigenous statues had been found.

Pope Francis met with 40 indigenous people earlier this month.
Pope Francis met with 40 indigenous people earlier this month.
Image: ABACA/PA Images

POPE FRANCIS TODAY apologised for the theft of indigenous Amazonian statues from a Rome church, saying they had been found after thieves dumped them in the Tiber River.

“This happened in Rome, and as bishop of the diocese I ask the forgiveness of those offended by this gesture,” he said.

Anonymous individuals filmed themselves taking the five statues of a naked, pregnant woman from a church near the Vatican and throwing them from a bridge.

The vandalism came during a meeting of bishops at the Vatican focused on the Amazon region, during which some ultra-conservatives criticised the display of what they call “pagan” indigenous objects during church ceremonies.

The thieves’ video, which emerged on Monday, was given prominence on conservative Catholic media websites.

“The statues that created so much media clamour were found in the Tiber. They were not damaged,” Francis said.

He said they had been on display “without idolatrous intentions”.

Senior Vatican official Paolo Ruffini told journalists on Monday the theft was “an act of defiance… against the spirit of dialogue”.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

“We have repeatedly said that these statues represent life, fertility, mother Earth,” Ruffini said.

Pope Francis earlier this month hit out at “offensive words” spoken against the Amazon’s indigenous people, noting that a feather headdress is no more ridiculous than hats worn at the Vatican.

The three-week synod, or assembly, unites 184 bishops, including 113 from the nine countries of the pan-Amazon region, including Brazil.

© – AFP 2019

About the author:


Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel