Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pope Recalls Injustices Done to Indigenous Peoples

In his weekly audience, from Asia News Italy, (I actually watched this audience live this morning on EWTN without any commentary--which was like being there and even though I know next to no Italian, I knew from the words that he was addressing this issue):

In his address, Benedict XVI re-evoked various highlights of his journey, during which he said he aimed to impress the theme of the relationship between faith and culture, which in the Latin American continent has created history, life experiences and art. But, he added, “Memories of the glorious past cannot ignore the shadows which accompany the history of evangelization. We cannot ignore the suffering and injustices imposed on the indigenous populations”, as already condemned, he recalled, by theologians such as Bartholomew de Las Casas. Thus within the continent the Gospel became “has expressed and continues to express the identity of the peoples in this region and provides inspiration to address the challenges of our globalize era”. “The Catholic identity is the most adequate because it is animated by the principals of the Churches Social Doctrine” and the Church in order to contribute to resolving socio-economic problems, “must mobilize all of its strength to converge with others who work for the common good”. In fact, “Brazil is an example for other countries of this new model for development” and “Christian culture can animate ‘reconciliation’ between mankind and creation, starting from a recovery of human dignity in relation to God the Father”.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the first thoughts of the pontiff on the matter: Yes of course Catholicism was "for the Indian people." As it is for all peoples.

    However, the natives of the Americas, for those that have remained in the faith, have done so with a clear history of the disgrace and abuses. Native Americans of both continents clearly recognize and accept the Church as their Mother, but also her severe "blemishes." (Other saints have found more "illustrative" ways to describe these features.) And that the "grand Christian culture of Europe," that culture that B16 has so declared he wants to re-establish, was a primary driver of the disgraces inflicted upon these peoples (a primary historical criticism of his plan to re-inject Catholicism into Western culture, as if its purported presence in the past had a lot of positive impact).

    When B16 doesn't ackowledge this as the first thoughts in his head or even the second thoughts in his head, he fails to communicate that he understands this at all, or that he gives the right and high regard for the Native Americans that embrace Catholicism despite its disgraceful advent into their culture.

    These peoples are not from the Eurocentric mindset, which declares all that is great and good comes from Europe-one is that they feel that great and good things exist in their indigenous cultures, also, and that the primary drivers of European Christian influence in their lives were oppression and slavery as vehicles for evangelization.

    Indigenous Americans retain a memory of the oppression and slavery of the West. They still embrace Catholicism despite this history. Recognizing this with one's first thoughts as opposed to a week later would show a lot of respect to these peoples.

    Dan Conway


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