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Thieves steal fertility statues

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VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis' controversial meeting on the Amazon has taken a criminal twist after thieves stole indigenous fertility statues from a Vatican-area church and tossed them into the Tiber River.

Video of the pre-dawn theft from the Santa Maria in Traspontina church was shared and celebrated on conservative social media today.

The Vatican's communications czar, Paolo Ruffini, termed it a “stunt” that violated the idea of dialogue.

Even before the three-week Amazon synod opened, conservative and traditionalist Catholics blasted its agenda as a heretical celebration of paganism, given its deference to indigenous cultures and spirituality.

Their criticism reached a fever pitch when Francis presided over a prayer service in the Vatican gardens featuring the statues of pregnant women, which the Vatican says symbolize life and fertility.

The synod ended yesterday.

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