Pope Francis issued a statement on Friday during the Amazon Synod’s Bishops’ meeting apologizing for the “pachamama” statues being thrown into the Tiber river.

The statement responds to videos of people stealing the controversial Amazon Synod statues from the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina and throwing them off of the Castel Sant’Angelo bridge into the Tiber River on Oct. 21.

Pope Francis greeted his fellow bishops, explaining that he “would like to say a word about the Pachamama statues that were removed from the Traspontina church, which were there without idolatrous intentions and thrown into the Tiber.”

“As bishop of this diocese, I ask forgiveness from those who have been offended by this gesture.” Pope Francis declared as the Bishop of Rome.

“I also announce that the statues, which have created so much media hype, were found in the Tiber,” Pope Francis continued. “The statues are not damaged.

The pope also said that the Pachamama statues may be represented at the Amazon Synod’s closing Mass on Oct. 27, upon approval from the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

The female wooden-carved nude pregnant statue used during several of the Amazon Synod’s events stirred major controversy due to its speculated similarity to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), the Andean peoples’ goddess of fertility.

Head of Vatican Communications Paolo Ruffini said the statue is “neither pagan nor sacred,” adding that “it is a feminine figure” of “an indigenous woman who represents life.”

Here’s an additional report from Rome:

Let us pray for our Bishops during conclusion of the Amazon Synod!

[See also: People Remove Controversial Amazon Statues from Church & Throw Them Into Tiber River]

[See also: Vatican Launches “Smart Rosary,” Which Activates With Sign of the Cross & Tracks Health Data]

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