The Catholic Church Should Admit Its Sins!!

Mixed feelings for Vatican rescinding ‘law of colonization’

Indian Country Times

“In what was described by Native News Online as a “landmark statement” by the Roman Catholic church, “the Vatican formally repudiated a centuries-old theory of church decrees that endorsed the forceful seizing of Native lands and near-total destruction of Indigenous peoples.”
The New York Times reported: “The decision comes after decades of demands from Indigenous people to rescind the doctrine, which was used for centuries to ‘expropriate Indigenous lands and facilitate their transfer to colonizing or dominating nations’.”
Native News Online noted that “the Catholic church played a major role in what is now known as the ‘Boarding School Era,’ a period between 1869 and the 1960s in which hundreds of thousands of Native children across the U.S. and Canada were forcibly removed from their homes to attend residential boarding schools. The schools were operated by the Federal government and, often, the Catholic Church. Children at the schools often suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse and neglect. A federal probe led by Secretary of Interior Deb Haalad has reported more than 500 students died at the schools.”
The painful imprint of the past led to measured statements from Native political leaders.
“While the Vatican’s decision to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery is the right one, it downplays the Church’s role and accountability for the harm it has caused to Native peoples. It does not change the fact that the Church’s views gave permission to colonizers to take Native lands and assimilate Native peoples,” said Deborah Parker (Tulalip), CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS).
In their statement, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) said: “It is no secret that many governments — including the United States — have relied on this doctrine to justify the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and the taking of our lands. It is our sincere hope that today’s announcement is more than mere words, but rather is the beginning of a full acknowledgement of the history of oppression and a full accounting of the legacies of colonialism—not just by the Roman Catholic Church, but by all the world governments ….”
Tracy Ching King (Fort Belknap), Vice Chairman of the Coalition of Large Tribes (COLT) said “The Doctrine of Discovery, like spider’s silk, wove a legal web that trapped and tainted the minds, spirits and dignity of tribes and deprived us of the most basic human rights at the hands of colonial powers, but the Vatican’s statement starts to lift the shackles that we still feel.”
Some reactions have been much more skeptical: “In what could have been a groundbreaking and historic repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, the Vatican instead released a series of political statements that sought to rewrite history, shield the Catholic Church from legal liability and shift the blame for the Doctrine of Discovery to governmental and colonial powers,” author Mark Charles (Navajo) told Native News Online.

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