It is Time to Overturn Tables

Early last week in Rome, brave unidentified men scooped up Amazonian statues of the fertility idol “Pachamama” or “Mother Earth” from their shockingly inappropriate place in the Church of Santa Maria del Traspontina in Rome and flung the pagan images into the Tiber River. 

Cardinal Mueller said, “According to the law of God, it’s the first commandment. Idolism is a grave sin and not to mix them with the Christian liturgy. And to throw it out can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the Church was a grave sin, it was a crime against the divine law.” 

Afterward, videos of the removal and destruction of the idols circulated quickly among relieved and supportive Catholics. Here, at last, were ‘men with chests’.  Undoing what should never have been done.  Cleaning house.  Overturning tables in the Temple.

The Pachamama statues were later retrieved by Italian police, and there was the suggestion they might turn up at St. Peter’s Basilica for the closing Mass of the Amazonian Synod.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  But while the idols didn’t surface at St. Peter’s, something else has already risen even higher in our hearts:  a fierce sort of righteous anger.  

And we won’t be satisfied until every false and unworthy thing is rooted out of our sacred places—idols in our Church, idols in our liturgy, idols in our lives—idols that need to be destroyed.

And then in their place, it is time to restore to the Church what is rightfully hers: beauty, reverence, purity, a sense of the sacred.  Her saints, her prayers, her rich mystical tradition.  

This is the mission of the Avila Foundation.

While you weren’t in Rome to sweep the sanctuary clean, you can help me build something to honor Our Lady and give glory to Her Son:  a foundation dedicated to the restoration of what the Church has been entrusted with from the beginning, her spiritual inheritance.

For decades, our birthright—the wealth and wisdom of the Church’s authentic spirituality—has been buried under modernism and error.  No more. We at the Avila Foundation are working every day to unearth this treasure, to put it in its rightful place.  That place?  The deepest center of the human heart.

Our programs, classes, writings, formation—everything we do, we do for this.  And we are always awed by how God takes our smallest efforts and grows His Kingdom, putting down deep roots in souls all over the world.

But because He loves us, God always invites us to share in His work.   

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

-St. Teresa of Avila

Will you be the hands of Christ, outstretched to help us in our mission?

Because let me be honest:  this summer has been difficult financially for us. I need to ask you to help us close the gap as we come to the end of a year of watching God’s grace working through us—through you and me. 

Please support the renewal of the Church through your gift to the Avila Foundation.

We simply can’t do what we do without you.  You are the wellspring—it all flows from your generosity and prayer, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not on my knees in thanksgiving for you.

Will you join us?  Renew your own commitment to preserve and spread what God has entrusted us with here:

For everything you’ve already done to help, you have my deep gratitude.  For all you are about to give, you have my advance and sincere thanks.  And for all your support, in our sometimes desperate material and spiritual needs, you have my heartfelt prayers.

Together let’s send every false and idolatrous thing back where it came from, and erect something worthy of the God who has shown us every goodness.  

To Him be the glory.


Yours in Christ,


Dan Burke

President, Avila Foundation


Image:James Tissot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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