The Roman Church and Native Religions

Over the years, I have posted several examples of Rome's willingness to adjust her doctrine in order to accommodate pagan religious beliefs of peoples she was evangelizing. As has been shown, many of the traditions and practices of the RCC were adopted virtually without modification from such disparate systems as Judaism, Zoroastrism, Mithraism, and innumerable animist relilgions.

I have shown how worshippers of the Nordic gods were 'converted when Catholic evangelists morphed Wotan, their fierce god of war, into the archangel Michael. Rome's army and many of her subjects became de facto Catholics when the Roman church, under Constantine's aegis, absorbed the temples, priests, beliefs and practices of Mithraic and other pagan worship. The Aztecs, militantly resistant to evangelization, were subdued when Rome renamed their earth goddess Tonantzin to Maria de Guadalupe and replaced their bloodthirsty gods with the pantheon of Roman Catholic saints. And so it went throughout the world. And so it continues to this day.

Reports of activities such as those mentioned above make me wonder whether Cardinal Ratzinger and the rest of the gang in the Dicasterial Commission weren't laughing when they approved the wording of this paragraph for inclusion in the latest version of the Catholic catechism:

2110 The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion--Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 2nd Ed., (c) 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc., p. 512

The Roman church is really pushing ecumenicalism these days. We see the interest expressed in church councils, such as Vatican I and Vatican II. We read about it in papal documents, such as Ut Unam Sint. More than a few evangelical leaders have joined with Rome, collaborating in leading lost souls and the doctrinally immature down a descending path which leads not to salvation but to the bosom of the Whore on the Tiber, where they will languish, along with their crushed hopes.

The RCC apologist might protest, claiming there is nothing wrong with adapting some pagan customs and practices and incorporating them into the RCC practice in those areas. Rome also stands firm on the motto, "Semper Idem," always the same. How can this be? How can Rome christen pagan practices and beliefs, thereby adopting them as her own, yet at the same time claim to maintain doctrinal purity by virtue of the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit? They do it the way they do so many things. They lie. They deceive. They reach accommodation with the devil.

I have written of corruptions of biblical doctrine and teaching that I personally have seen in various parts of the world. In my postings, I have described the barbarous flagellations and self-mutilations I have seen in the Philippines on Good Fridays. With word images, I have tried to describe the curious blending of Mayan offerings and sacrifices concomitant with Catholic masses in churches in Guatemala. The pagan festivities of Mexico's Day of the Dead, in which the Catholic church is a central player, have been painted on the canvas of this board several times. Without exception, every reference to Roman Catholic accommodation to pagan religion has been discounted by RCC 'apologists,' who declared that these events are but aberrations and do not reflect the teachings of the Mother Church. My response is that, whether they reflect the teachings of Rome or not, they ARE practiced in Roman Catholic churches and Roman Catholic priests officiate in the rites.

Join me in looking at an ongoing example of the Rome's willingness to accommodate pagans as the price she must pay to lay claim to their souls.

In 1629, Roman Catholic missionaries established a church now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe in what is now Zuni, New Mexico. For nearly two centuries, the mission church proselytized the native population, virtually enslaving those who accepted the yoke of Catholicism. Then, in 1820, following Mexico's break from Spain, the priests were withdrawn and the mission church was abandoned.

Some 30 or so years ago, a Franciscan priest joined forces with Zuni tribal leaders and the U.S. Park Service to begin work to restore the old mission church. The walls of the old mission church had been decorated with paintings of Zuni kachina disciplinarians. The idea, apparently, was to lend force to priestly admonitions that the Zuni converts were to attend Mass and live according to the teachings of the Roman Church and Zuni tradition. The RCC making use of the pagan deities to enforce conformance to Roman rule. Ecumenicalism?

Kachina, or katsina, is a Southwestern Pueblo Indian word meaning spirit father or life. Kachinas represent the spirit of the gods who personify nature: clouds, sky, storms, trees, etc. They function as protective supernatural beings who can help humans if they are asked properly. They also represent the spirits of good people who die and become clouds, bringing much-needed rain. They serve as entertainers and discipliners of children. Kachinas look after the interests of humans, serve as intermediaries to the gods, and can bestow good fortune, such as fertility, power, and long life.--Ardeth Baxter, Zuni and Hopi Native Americans; "Kachinas" (C) 2002 by PageWise, Inc

As part of the reconstruction and renovation of the mission church, it was decided that the old disciplinarian kachinas would be replaced with other figures. The new kachinas are intended to depict the similarities between Zuni spirituality and Roman Catholicism.

Zuni holy man Alex Seowtewa has been working on the murals since 1970 and has since been joined by sons Ken and Edwin. Theres an urgency to their 29-year project. Key elements of Zuni tradition are vanishing, taken to the grave by elders who do not pass on the knowledge. The Seowtewas want to preserve the most important kachinas by painting them in detail, down to the last feather.

Alex decided to repaint the kachinas and use them to illustrate parallels between Catholicism and Zuni spirituality, Ken said. Im a Catholic as well as I do partake in my Zuni rituals, Ken said. Similarities between the traditions include ritual fasting in February with unleavened bread and the use of holy water, he added.--Katherine Drouin Keith, Zuni murals connect two cultures, National Catholic Reporter, March 26, 1999

Among the new paintings we see kachinas carrying offerings to Zuni ancestors, seeking their assistance for bringing peace, longevity, rain, etc. Well, that certainly matches up well with the Romish practice of praying to Mary and other 'saints' for help in just about every aspect of daily living.

There also are figures depicting the Longhorn, a rain priest, and his bodyguards. These are protected by two Zuni warrior gods, called Sa'Li'Mo:Be'ya.

Above the altar is a small figure of Jesus, dressed in traditional Zuni costume. How offended the real Jesus must be to see a counterfeit of Himself displayed in a temple filled with images of pagan deities and the artifacts of animist religion.

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.--Exodus 20:2-6

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