Pope Francis apologized that two men entered a church near the Vatican, took controversial statues and tossed them into the Tiber River.
“As bishop of the diocese, I apologize,” he said on Oct. 25, the first time the full membership of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon was gathered since the statues were taken from the Church of St Mary in Traspontina on Oct. 21.
Referring to the statue as “Pachamama,” like many media had done, Pope Francis told bishops at the Synod that the statues had been displayed in the Rome Church “without any idolatrous intention,” although the men who took the statues claimed on social media that they did so because the statues were idols. “Pachamama” is a term for “Mother Earth” used by some South American indigenous people.
The Pope also said that the statues, which floated, had been recovered by Italian police. The statues, “which created such a media clamor,” he said, “were not damaged.”