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Vatican Communications Official: Carved Figure at Amazon Synod Is Not Virgin Mary

VATICAN CITY — Father Giacomo Costa, a communications official for the Amazon synod, said Wednesday that a wooden figure of a nude pregnant woman, which has been present at events related to the synod, is not the Virgin Mary, but is instead a female figure representing life.

“It is not the Virgin Mary. Who said it is the Virgin Mary?” Father Costa said Oct. 16 at a news conference for the Amazon synod, taking place in the Vatican through Oct. 27.

Father Costa referred to a controversial image of a female figure that was part of a tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican Oct. 4. The same figure has been present in the vicinity of the Vatican at various events happening during the synod, under the “Casa Comun” initiative.

The wooden figure of a pregnant woman has been described as both a Marian image and as a traditional indigenous religious symbol of the goddess Pachamama, or Mother Earth.

When told “many people have said” the woman is a figure of the Virgin Mary, Father Costa added, “‘Many have said.’ Okay, as you like, but I have never heard that.”

“There is nothing to know. It is an indigenous woman who represents life,” he stated, adding that his information commission will look for more information about it, but “it is a feminine figure” and is “neither pagan nor sacred.”

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