Priests and bishops who have stirred up contempt for the religious traditions of indigenous South America people are partly to blame for the desecration of religious images, an Irish priest from the Jesuits’ Paraguayan province has said.
Commenting on how statues of a pregnant woman, identified as symbols of life and ‘Our Lady of the Amazon’, were taken from Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina and thrown into the Tiber, Fr Kevin O’Higgins SJ said “the persons stealing and desecrating the images are the physical agents” of the attack.
“Moral culpability is shared by commentators (some priests & bishops among them) whose derogatory words implicitly incited this kind of action. Prayers for #AmazonSynod,” he wrote on Twitter.
Fr O’Higgins also criticised the “utter hypocrisy” of those who denigrated an image of a pregnant woman honoured at Vatican ceremonies during the Amazon Synod “while simultaneously trumpeting their supposed reverence for life in the womb”.
REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, has said they “denounce the fact that in recent days we have been subjected to acts of violence that reflect religious intolerance, racism, distressing attitudes which affect above all the indigenous people”.