Thieves steal Amazon fertility statues as synod nears end

1010 WINS Newsroom
October 21, 2019 - 9:18 am

Participants in the Amazon synod attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the occasion of the World Missionary Day, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' controversial meeting on the Amazon has taken a criminal twist after thieves stole indigenous fertility statues from a Vatican-area church and tossed them into the Tiber River.

Video of the pre-dawn theft from the Santa Maria in Traspontina church was shared and celebrated on conservative social media Monday. The Vatican's communications czar, Paolo Ruffini, termed it a "stunt" that violated the idea of dialogue.

Even before the three-week Amazon synod opened, conservative and traditionalist Catholics blasted its agenda as a heretical celebration of paganism, given its deference to indigenous cultures and spirituality.

Their criticism reached a fever pitch when Francis presided over a prayer service in the Vatican gardens featuring the statues of pregnant women, which the Vatican says symbolize life and fertility.

The synod ends Sunday.

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