The Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Lecture 2022
04 Nov 2022

In the early hours of the morning of October 21, 2019, two right wing Catholic men broke into the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina in Rome. They stole four carved wooden statues of a naked pregnant woman that had been on display and used in a papal ceremony during the Pan-Amazonian Synod that was nearing its conclusion that week and threw them into the Tiber River. What was the meaning of these statues and the ceremony in the presence of the pope in which they appeared? Was this an example of syncretism, of dual religious belonging, or an exercise in what Pope Francis called “daring prudence” in terms of inculturation of the gospel? These are the questions on which the 2022 Luzbetak Lecture on Mission and Culture will reflect and attempt to answer.