Alexander Tschugguel, the young Austrian founder of the Saint Boniface Institute who threw the Amazon Synod’s Pachamama idols in the Tiber river last October, has fired back after a professor of dogmatic theology accused him of falling behind the Second Vatican Council.
“I’m convinced that Christ’s saying will always be true, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me,’” Tschugguel said.
In the fall of 2019, Tschugguel threw a number of the controversial Pachamama statues into the Tiber in Rome after they had been prominently featured in a church for days. Similar statues had also been used in a religious ceremony in the Vatican gardens.
In the aftermath of the Acies Ordinata event in
Munich in January, Jan-Heiner Tück, professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Vienna, had spoken of “a constricted view of Catholicism.” The event was attended, among others, by Alexander Tschugguel and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a prayerful protest against the Synodal Path of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Tück told Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress: “The vastness of Catholicism is narrowed, even damaged, when it is defended in the manner of Maccabees and statements of Scripture are misunderstood as instructions for action in the way of biblicism.”
According to Kathpress, the theology professor argued that through their intolerance and contempt for that which is other, activists like Tschugguel damage the truth they claim to serve. That way, Tück explained, they fall back behind the Second Vatican Council.
In Tück’s understanding, the council which took place from 1962 until 1965, “overcame an exclusivism which sees in the Catholic Church the only true religion and rejects all other religious convictions as false.”
Talking to faithful Catholic news website kath.net, Tschugguel reacted: “It is no secret that many people today believe that without the Church, specifically without baptism, one can also go to heaven. I am convinced that Christ’s saying will always be true, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
While Tück sees a problem with a “theology of inculturation” which denies itself and praises the other, he maintains the Second Vatican Council has an appreciative attitude towards other cultures and traditions.
Instances of “the true, the good, and the sacred” can also be found “in non-Christian religions and cultures,” Tück said. He did not explain further how this relates to the Pachamama statues featured in a Catholic church as well as during various religious ceremonies in the Vatican in which Pope Francis attended.
Tück accused Tschugguel of not seeing “that he is continuing precisely the tradition that has burdened the missionary history of the Church until today. Contempt for ‘pagan’ cultures in the name of Christian truth has repeatedly unleashed iconoclastic practices.”
The professor of dogmatic theology did not clarify in his conversation with Kathpress how this relates to Tschugguel removing the Pachamama statues from a church.
Tschugguel said that as Catholics, “we are called to proclaim the gospel to all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“To worship pagan idols does not correspond to this mission and is contrary to the First Commandment. To pit the pre-conciliar and the post-conciliar Church against each other in this way is, in my opinion, deceitful,” he said.
Tschugguel told LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen in a recent interview that “for me, it was really bad, because I saw in those statues and in those idols […] a break of the First Commandment.” He added that he was motivated simply by the desire to “bring pagan things out of a Catholic church.”
In the interview, he also gave young Catholics the advice to attend the local traditional Catholic church, pray “tons” of rosaries, and study the faith in order to defend it in public. He also recommended they go to their families, friends, nearby pro-life groups, and make their voices heard. Tschugguel excaimed, if something “is not Catholic, speak up! […] We are part of the battle between the kingdom of God and the reign of the devil.”