Head of English language liturgy calls Amazon Synod ceremonies “pagan worship”

Msg Andrew Wadsworth (pictured), the executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is defending his social media posts calling liturgical events at the Amazon Synod as “scenes of pagan worship”.

“I, Andrew Raymond Wadsworth, do not wish to belong to the new idolatrous Pachamama Church currently being brought into being,” he said on a Facebook post on October 26.

Wadsworth’s reference is to the wooden statues showing an indigenous pregnant woman, termed “Pachamama,” a goddess revered in the Andes.

The wooden statue was presented to Pope Francis as “Our Lady of the Amazon” and was later stolen and thrown into the Tiber river.

Wadsworth’s Facebook post also came with a picture of Jesus on a throne inscribed with “Christus Vincit. Christus Regnat. Christus Imperat” (“Christ conquers. Christ reigns. Christ commands.”)

“Is anyone else fed up with these sickening scenes of pagan worship, seemingly organized daily by Canadian Anglican priest in Santa Maria in Traspontina?” said an October 20 post on Wadsworth’s account.

The post was accompanied by a photo of indigenous people in the Rome church.

“I am appalled that the Carmelites permit this sacrilege in their church,” the post said.

“This is not Christianity but dangerous devil worship. Kyrie Eleison!”

Wadsworth’s Facebook account has subsequently been made private.

Wadsworth works for the 11 English speaking bishops’ conferences where English is used in the liturgy.

His social medial comments and criticisms of the use of indigenous symbols used at the Amazon synod call into question his impartiality as the lead official in charge of carrying out the English-speaking bishops’ wishes on the liturgy, comments Christopher Lamb in The Tablet.

When when asked by The Tablet whether he will continue in his position, Wadsworth did not comment .

“On occasion, I have re-posted on Facebook articles of others, including bishops and cardinals, who offer commentary about some of the issues surrounding the recent Synod,”  Wadsworth said.

“I believe that to do so is part of the process whereby we can all enter into a dialogue concerning the discussion of serious challenges that the Church faces at this time. You will be aware that a spectrum of opinions is expressed, within the Church, in this respect.”

ICEL was created in 1963 to prepare English translations of Latin liturgical books and texts.

Each of the 11 conferences that are full members of ICEL has an elected bishop on the commission.

Bishop Patrick Dunn is New Zealand Bishops’ representative on ICEL. He confirmed in a statement for CathNews that Wadsworth’s role in ICEL is to coordinate the work surrounding the translation of English speaking liturgical matters.

Dunn said it is not his role to lead.

“Monsignor Wadsworth has every right to have his private views on liturgical practice, but I would not agree with the comments that have been attributed to him,” said Dunn.

“He has been outstanding in the work he does for ICEL and my own hope is that he will continue in this role for many years to come.”



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