Italian bishops’ agency published prayer to Pachamama

Missio, the pastoral agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference, published a prayer to Pachamama in an April 2019 publication devoted to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region.

The prayer, described as a “prayer to Mother Earth of the Inca peoples,” reads:

Pachamama of these places, drink and eat this offering at will, so that this earth may be fruitful. Pachamama, good Mother, be favorable! Be favorable! Make that the oxen walk well, and that they not become tired. Make that the seed sprout well, that nothing bad may happen to it, that the cold may not destroy it, that it produce good food. We ask this from you: give us everything. Be favorable! Be favorable!

The word translated as “favorable” may also be translated as “propitiated.”

The prayer to Pachamama, found on page 17, is one of three prayers included in the publication; the other two prayers were published without an accompanying description. The first, found on page 11, is the prayer to the One and Triune God with which Pope Francis concluded his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’. The other prayer, found on page 27, is not an invocation or petition, but a poem that begins with the words “Take a smile.” (For years, various Italian websites have characterized this text as a poem by Mahatma Gandhi.)

Images of naked pregnant women, described by Pope Francis on October 25 as “the statues of the Pachamama,” led to much controversy during the three-week Amazon synod, which concluded on October 27. On October 4, during a Vatican Garden event in which Pope Francis dedicated the synod to St. Francis, 15 persons in attendance, including a Franciscan friar, knelt in a circle around the statues and bowed their heads to the ground. During the synod’s final week, two men removed the statues from a Roman church and threw them into the Tiber River, leading to a papal apology. After the statues of the Pachama were retrieved, they were displayed in a canoe on October 26, the final day of synod discussions.