Vatican Finally Responds to Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship, or Does it?

For some months National Geographic has attempted to engage Vatican officials regarding the use of ivory by Catholics as described in my October 2012 cover story, Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship.

Vatican Ivory Collection

Vatican Ivory Collection

This week Father Lombardi finally responded, but his letter suggests it is not the elephant or my story that stimulated a response.  Rather it was a decision by National Geographic to publish its attempts to engage the Vatican, resulting in a rash of concerned reader emails to the Holy See.

“While some of the letters have not been particularly kind or profound, many are both to the point and compelling; they are a true invitation to awareness and to the duty to combat a serious and unjustifiable phenomenon,” Father Lombardi writes.

I will appear on Vatican Radio in coming weeks and will have more to say about Father Lombardi’s response.  For now, it is worth reading his letter, and if you feel inclined, posting your thoughts on National Geographic’s Elephant Experts’ blog: Forestry Raid A Voice for Elephants, or writing Father Lombardi directly:, copying his secretary, Ms. Cristina Ravenda:

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