Pope Benedict: Ignoring Cultural and Religious Oppression in the New World





Mr. Miller is a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, the chief justice of the Grand Ronde Tribe, and an Eastern Shawnee. He is the author of Native America: Discovered and Conquered.

News reports demonstrate that Pope Benedict is ignoring history and the violent cultural and religious oppression of indigenous peoples around the world by European Christians. Speaking to Latin American bishops in Brazil on May 13, the Pope cited the "rich religious traditions" of Indian people but added that their ancestors were "silently longing" for Christ and seeking God "without realizing it." Pope Benedict further demonstrated his misunderstanding of history and the forced conversions of natives in North, Central and South America and of massacres and "just wars" when he suggested that the Church did not impose itself on indigenous peoples and that Christianity had not been detrimental to them and their cultures. "In effect, the proclamation of Jesus and of His Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture." Benedict also added that a return to indigenous religions "would be a step back."

In sharp contrast to Benedict's comments, Pope John Paul noted in 1992 the mistakes that were made in the conversion of the native peoples of the Americas. Moreover, President Bush, while speaking on Sunday at the 400th commemoration of the Jamestown settlement, lamented the negative effects that European colonization had on the Indian tribes in Virginia. President Bush apparently would not agree with Pope Benedict's comments that native cultures were not injured by European colonization and evangelism because Bush stated: "The expansion of Jamestown came at a terrible cost to the native tribes of the region, who lost their lands and their way of life."

Not surprisingly, Pope Benedict's comments angered Indian leaders in Brazil. This is understandable, especially in light of the fact that several Indian groups had written the Pope just last week asking for his help in defending their lands and cultures. Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, a spokesman for Coiab, an Indian rights group in Brazil, called the Pope's comments "arrogant and disrespectful." A spokesman for the Makuxi Tribe, Dionito Jose de Souza, said the Pope was trying to erase the "dirty work" of colonization. Another Indian leader, Sandro Tuxa, called the remarks "offensive, and frankly, frightening."

Some Catholic priests who support Indian rights were also upset by Benedict's comments and Cimi, the Brazilian Church's Indian advocacy group, was distancing itself from the Pope's statements. An adviser to Brazil's Indian Missionary Council, which is supported by the Church, stated that the Pope's comments show he is "Eurocentric" and is ignoring the fact that Indians were forced by Portuguese and Spanish settlers to become Catholics. This adviser noted that the Pope must have "missed some history classes."

The Pope also ignored the history of papal bulls from the Fifteenth Century that divided the world for conquest and conversion by the Christian kings of Portugal and Spain. In 1436 Pope Eugenius issued Romanus Pontifex authorizing Portugal to convert the Canary Islanders and to control their islands. This bull was reissued by various popes and granted Portugal jurisdiction and geographical rights over infidels along the west coast of Africa. In 1455, Pope Nicolas even authorized Portugal "to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans," to place them into slavery and to take their property. Furthermore, after Columbus' report of a New World and Spain's claim to ownership, Pope Alexander VI issued three bulls in 1493 that confirmed Spain's title because the New World had been "undiscovered by others" (thus ignoring the known presence of indigenous people). Pope Alexander also granted Spain any other lands it might discover in the future provided that they were "not previously possessed by any Christian owner." Even more extravagantly, Pope Alexander later issued Inter caetera II and divided the world by a line drawn from the North to the South Pole and granted Spain title to all lands to be discovered west of the line to contribute to "the expansion of the Christian rule" and granted to Portugal all lands east of that line. Consequently, the world was divided up for European and Christian domination. This is exactly what followed. This is the history that Pope Benedict has overlooked in making his comments.

Since at least August 2006, various American Indian groups have called for the Vatican to withdraw these bulls and to repudiate this history of religious and Eurocentric oppression. That request now seems unlikely to even be considered in light of Pope Benedict's comments about the imposition of Christianity on the indigenous people of South America.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Jacqueline Sarah Homan - 5/15/2009

Joe Ratzinger...err..excuse me...I mean Pope Benecit XVI is an ex-Nazi. I am Jewish. He apologized to my people for the Holocaust against my people when he visited Yad Vashem, while simultaneously voicing his intent to elevate Archbishop Stepinac to sainthood. Stepanic was the Archbishop of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia. Stepinac was open about his intent to force Croatia to be 100% Catholic, and thus justified the slaughter of over 1 million Serbs (who were mostly Eastern orthodox Christians, but many were also Jews)

Stepinac was not only providing one of many Vatican ratlines to Nazi war criminals after WWII, Stepinac actively participated in the torture and genocide of Eastern Orthodox and Jewish Serbs and Gypsies. Stepinac was an active member of the Croatian Ustashe; he personally participated in the barbarism at the Jasenovic death camp.

The fact that the Pope would consider sainthood for that monster says it all for the fascist Roman Catholic Church. It is, and always has been, the greedy imperialistic Roman Empire repackaged in a way to turn the whole world into one big Mafia neighborhood...in the name of "divine right."

What ROman Catholicism has done to the indigenous nations and people in the Americas was a greater Holocaust than what happened to my people (at the ROman Church's hands).


seamus breathnach - 11/20/2008

In fairness, I cannot see that economic, political and religious motives are really as disconnected as Mr Gaston and Mr. Alejandro Méndez make out. I suspect that this is in large measure the application of modern conditions to history; and they do not jell as well as one at first imagines.

Moreover, the period is too long to specify simple one motive as exclusive of the other. The increasing division of labour, the recession of the worst aspects of superstition, and the growing courage of scholars under new waves of 'individualism' , 'prosperity', and 'consumerism' allows us today to allocate one motive rather than another, even though they would not simply have vacillated in importance and significance vis-a-vis each other , but vis-a-vis our analysis, our consciousness of the historical process, and our current emphasis as between these motives.

In general, the Spanish, as surely with all the colonizers of the earlier periods, harboured notions of salvation, earthyl glory, wealth, adventure and the benefits of a 'fighting-indulgence'. These were all present during the Crusades, and are all present , more or less, in the present wars.

What I am saying is that after Darwin, Francesco Carotta and Joseph Atwill, we now know who Hitler is; for we now know who Caesar is, who the modern state is, and how he is fashioned for war and for all the motives that were present at the Crusades.

JP 11, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, are the same Casear which the Chruch/State ensemble constantly makes whether for the Papacy of the middle ages or for WW11. Biblical men like Franco, Il Duce and Hitler, were each products of this ensemble -- an ensemble which allowed the Papacy maximum input into where the Christian conquest should lead. In this Pacelli was no different to Benedict XVI and neither were any different to Adrian IV or any of the earlier Popes who negotiated with the Normans, Franks, Lombards, Byzantines, etc...

The big thing to my mind is: We now know who Caesar actually is. And the role of the Papacy (and the Black Pope in particular) has to be exposed as to the influence the RCChurch and Christianity in general exercises in the preparation and commitment to war.

Benedict XVI (of forgotten Regensburg fame), influened both Tony Blair and George Bush (and Anglo-America) in ways that are apt to elude the analysis we need to assess Caesar's true propensities. And , one fears, that a Black Caesar, no matter how much he speaks of 'change' , is most apt to be overcome by the very enemies he overcome to exercise change.

Christianity -- especially the RCChurch -- whether in India or the US, is not prepapred to let go of its empire without the most bloody encounters. Secular societies like Russia and China are already sentenced to its messianic ways by virtue of resisting Christianity.

No doubt, economics, politics and religion will be used as labels for he most fundamental plannings and plottings which our history discloses to us are essentially shaped primarily by the norms of the Christian conquistadores, and if Spain doesn't to the necessary to day, then America and Australia and India will.

European atheism, humanism, Darwinism have their history; what they need is a vision: and that vision is to phase out the messianic aspects of the Christian conquest right around the world. Indeed, wherever the colonists have already faded the RCChurch has adopted the role of Vulture and has prosecuted the conquest anew. It is mostly the responsibility of European atheists to challenge this monster and stop it in its mediaeval tracks.

Seamus Breathnach

www.irish-criminology.com


seamus breathnach - 5/9/2008

I simply don't know what one can do in the presence of messianic believers like the Pope. The Eastern Shawnee, Professor Miller, of the Lewis & Clark Law School, has got it perfectly correct. And if those Christians, otherwise intelligent people, could once and for all take their heads out of the sand and actually listen to their own messianic leader, there might be some hope, even if it is rather late in the day to expect any beneficial effects from a late Catholic conversion to secular humanism or , indeed, decency.

That Pope Benedict -- as with his endless predecessors -- are ignoring history and the violent cultural and religious oppression they have forced on indigenous peoples around the world is nothing new. One of the first of these, as I am almost hoarse from repeating, was that church-devoted people the 'Anglici' Irish. And for a description of what must be one of the first paradigmatic events in Catholic imperialism , one should look at 2.b. irish-criminology dot com. There it will be seen how callous the Papacy was in its treatment of the pagan native Gaels. When it is realised that the Church, who runs practically everything in Ireland, and has used it throughout the ninenteenth centurhy as a perfect instrument of its imperialism in the US and elsewhere, has left a ghoulish English culture in Ireland where the official language (Gaelic) is hardly spoken by 1,000 families, one gets an idea of what the RC Church can do with all its plaster saints and pieties.

But , as your report makes clear, while speaking to Latin American bishops in Brazil on May 13, the Pope cited the "rich religious traditions" of Indian people and added the 'soft soap' that their ancestors were "silently longing" for Christ and seeking God "without realizing it."

It is this bewildering, insulting and messianic ignorance that is at the root of all the Christian conquest's injustice. No matter what anyone thinks -- the Vatican (and Jesu) knows better what is good for natives everywhere in the world , than they do for themselves. It is as if all this logic (Logos), which at Regensburg was cited as being Divine, is well and good, so long as it concurs with the Vatican. If, of course, it doesn't -- as it didn't amongst the pagan Gaels -- then they 'had to be taught a lesson'. And we all know what that imperialist lesson has been, whether instigated by the Spanish, the Porguguese, the Dutch, or the more recent incursions by converted Irish, Indians, Koreans, South Americans, Vietnamese, etc., etc..



Pope Benedict does not 'misunderstand' history. This is a secular and a civilised gift to Papal thinking. Pope Benedict does not care in the slightest about history, what history means, or what one imagines it should mean. Being 'messianic' is not meant to be rational. The Papacy does not do 'reason' upon a historical basis; it only does dogmatic believe and messianic adjustments to that belief.

So, if the natives do not want Jesus, the Vatican, Capitalism, the world of Latin and Caesar, there is something wrong with the natives. If anything has to change, then it can only be the natives who imagine that they do not want Jesus or Caesar or the POPES or the Vatican or , indeed, Capitalism, or , in an event , to be told that they they need these baubles by foreigners who hardly speak their language.

Whatever outrage messianic Popes ceaselessly inspire, the point is this: no matter what people do, once they allow Catholicism to get a grip of their culture, they are, short of scorching the earth to have them removed, doomed to being eclipsed and conquered.

And the first to cry 'violence' or 'injustice' is -- Who? The Vatican and all its liege legionaires.

Children across the world should be set the problem of how to avoid being viiolent with messianic religionists. I for one would love to know how to get rid of such openly professed and openly professing imperialists?

Oh! Would some God that giftie gi' us to see ourselves as others see us?

Obviosly, that God is not a Christian God or his Vican on earth.

Seamus Breathnach

www.irish-criminology.com


seamus breathnach - 3/7/2008


WHAT IS IT THAT THE IRISH ARE AFRAID TO ADMIT EVEN TO THEMSELVES!

PROOF OF HOW THE PAPACY STOLE IRELAND FROM THE NATIVES.

WHAT ARE ITS PLANS FOR YOUR COUNTRY?

IS THE POPE PLANNING TO STEAL YOUR COUNTRY?

http://irishcriminology.com/02b-The-Criminological-History-of-Ireland.html


There are many people -- educated English and Irish men among them -- who could not believe that the Pope of Rome would be so treacherous as to start and support an unjust war for over almost a thousand years. ‘No way’, they claim, ‘ could the Catholic Church start a war and then hide its misdeeds.’ This denial is partially due to the relentless efforts made by the Irish Church members, powerful men in all forms of Irish education, to keep the truth from an unquestioning public. As far as corporate propaganda is concerned the Roman Church has no peers.

The documents demonstrating these matters are many and scattered over several centuries and languages. But the main documents which demonstrate without doubt the treachery of the Papacy are now a matter of public record. And five of these documents from the mouths of those most closely associated with the the sale of Ireland can be found on the following WebPage.



http://irishcriminology.com/02b-The-Criminological-History-of-Ireland.html



Directly because of the Papal Bull ‘Laudabiliter’, the native Gaelic people were pitted against the Norman Christians and then against the transplanted Christian English. The struggle continued until the native Gaelic pagans were obliterated — since when, to the present day, not a thousand families in Ireland can speak Gaelic, contempt for the language being universally shown in the Jesuit-owned third level schools, colleges and universities, where hardly a fluent lecturer can be found.


After the Reformation, of course, the thousand year war instigated by the Papacy continued as between English Protestant and ‘Irish’ Catholic.

Anyone who has a sense of humour should read how Fianna Fail — the Church’s party in Ireland — keeps going all the way to East Timor. No one quite knows why. The Vatican take is that these Irish people, who have been fighting for so long for Catholic conquest and Emancipation , have something important to tell the East Timorese. The smart money is on the notion that the Irish are doing what they know best; they are doing the work of the Pope , and are really in East Timor to steal it, just as Ireland was stolen.

If anyone doubts the documents relating to Ireland, which was, perhaps, one of the first countries to fall to the blackguard Church of Rome, let him read the history of Ireland and refresh himself as to the intermittent risings and skirmishes, endless burnings and hangings, and thousands -- maybe millions of Irish people -- torn from their roots and sent as felons to American, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the world. Irish Catholicism is living proof of the fact that ‘crime does pay’. For a shilling a household, Pope Adrian IV sold Ireland into slavery to his fellow countryman, Henry 11, and the enormity of the bloodshed that was to follow from generation to generation, until from each county the native pagan people were uprooted, demoralized, demonized and destroyed.

Anyone who cares to read these documents will find in them a paradigm for colonial Christianity everywhere and its racial hatred of the simple native peoples who have dared to think differently to that of Rome.


Moreover, it appears from these documents that the Pope and his minions have occupied Ireland illegally and unconstitutionally for some fifteen hundred years, since when they engineered Irish fertility to extend their empire through the Irish Diaspora. Even to the present day Irish ‘vocations’ have extended throughout the world, the current craze being that of East Timor, where the Minister for Foreign Affairs imagines he has a mandate from the people (but has it actually from the Pope) to interfere in matters he knows nothing of, save to do the same in East Timor as was done in Ireland. The Irish are out in East Timor to steal it and to set up antagonisms on behalf of Catholicism that will last forever. The Christian conquest is a recipe for disaster in the world and while the Popes have hardly ever visited Ireland (or are they likely to visit East Timor), they have drained the country of its people, its wealth and its peace in the most inhuman and relentless manner.

One can only hope that by making these documents available some Irish men will reconsider what their country did and still does in this world. They may even question the entire use of government on behalf of the Vatican.


(AND IF YOU ARE STILL ASKING WHY THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT APPEAR ON INDYMEDIA IRELAND, THEN, PERHAPS, YOU SHOULD NOT BE READING THIS ARTICLE!)



Seamus Breathnach

http://www.irish-criminology.com






seamus breathnach - 3/1/2008

The absolute absurdity of 'personal' Papal contrition at this remove from the terrible, terrible damage the Vatican has universally caused in the world is patently obvious from a study of the following incontrovertible account of Gaelic, Pagan and Native Culture.

From the point of view of Papal arrogance and ignorance alone, and from the point of view of Christian aggression in the world, the case of Ireland deserves special consideration.


WHAT IS IT THAT THE IRISH ARE AFRAID TO ADMIT EVEN TO THEMSELVES!

PROOF OF HOW THE PAPACY STOLE IRELAND FROM THE NATIVES.

There are many people -- educated English and Irish men among them -- who could not believe that the Pope of Rome would be so treacherous as to start and support an unjust war for over almost a thousand years. ‘No way’, they claim, ‘ could the Catholic Chruch start a war and then hide its misdeeds.’ This denial is partially due to the relentless efforts made by the Irish Church members, powerful men in all forms of Irish education, to keep the truth from an unquestioning public. As far as corporate propaganda is concerned the Roman Chruch has no peers.

The documents demonstrating these matters are many and scattered over several centuries and languages. But the main documents which demonstrate without doubt the treachery of the Papacy are now a matter of public record. And five of these documents from the mouths of those most closely associated with the the sale of Ireland can be found on the following WebPage.



http://irishcriminology.com/02b-The-Criminological-History-of-Ireland.html



Directly because of the Papal Bull ‘Laudabiliter’, the native Gaelic people were pitted against the Norman Christians and then against the transplanted Christian English. The struggle continued until the native Gaelic pagans were obliterated — since when, to the present day, not a thousand families in Ireland can speak Gaelic, contempt for the language being universally shown in the Jesuit-owned third level schools, colleges and universities, where hardly a fluent lecturer can be found.


After the Reformation, of course, the thousand year war instigated by the Papacy continued as between English Protestant and ‘Irish’ Catholic.

Anyone who has a sense of humour should read how Fianna Fail — the Church’s party in Ireland — keeps going all the way to East Timor. No one quite knows why. The Vatican take is that these Irish people, who have been fighting for so long for Catholic conquest and Emancipation , have something important to tell the East Timorese. The smart money is on the notion that the Irish are doing what they know best; they are doing the work of the Pope , and are really in East Timor to steal it, just as Ireland was stolen.

If anyone doubts the documents relating to Ireland, which was, perhaps, one of the first countries to fall to the blackguard Church of Rome, let him read the history of Ireland and refresh himself as to the intermittent risings and skirmishes, endless burnings and hangings, and thousands -- maybe milliions of Irish people -- torn from their roots and sent as felons to American, Australia, New Zealand and througout the world. Irish Catholicism is living proof of the fact that ‘crime does pay’. For a shilling a houshold, Pope Adrian IV sold Ireland into slavery to his fellow countryman, Henry 11, and the enormity of the bloodshed that was to follow from generation to generation, until from each county the native pagan people were uprooted, demoraliosed, demonised and destroyed.

Anyone who cares to read these documents will find in them a paradigm for colonial Christianity everywhere and its racial hatred of the simple native peoples who have dared to think differently to that of Rome.



Moreover, it appears from these documents that the Pope and his minions have occupied Ireland illegally and unconstitutionally for some fifteen hundred years, since when they engineered Irish fertility to extend their empire through the Irish diaspara. Even to the present day Irish ‘vocations’ have extended throughout the world, the current craze being that of East Timor, where the Minister for Foreign Affairs imagines he has a mandate from the people (but has it actually from the Pope) to interfere in matters he knows nothing of, save to do the same in East Timor as was done in Ireland. The Irish are out in East Timor to steal it and to set up antagonisms on behalf of Catholicism that will last forever. The Christian conquest is a recipe for disaster in the world and while the Popes have hardly ever visited Ireland (or are they likely to visit East Timor), they have drained the country of its people, its wealth and its peace in the most inhuman and relentless manner.


One can only hope that by making these documents available some Irish men will reconsider what their country did and still does in this world. They may even question the entire use of government on behalf of the Vatican.


(AND IF YOU ARE STILL ASKING WHY THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT APPEAR ON INDYMEDIA IRELAND, THEN, PERHAPS, YOU SHOULD NOT BE READING THIS ARTICLE!)



Seamus Breathnach

http://www.irish-criminology.com&;#8232;



Sergio Alejandro Méndez - 5/31/2007

Mr Gaston

I certainly agree with your apretiations on the motives of the conquerors: they were mostly, economic. But the point is that by large, with some notable exceptions, the Catolic Church allowed conquerors to go in their conquering enterprise, allowed the use of their religion as an ideological weapon for conquest, and certainly used the conquest as a tool to evangalize natives by force, which the main issue discussed in the article.

Concerning your assertion about the first europeans and their interest in America, you seem to ignore a crucial thing: land in XVI century Spain was a symbol of status and power. Many of the first conquerors came here not only for the wealth, but for land (that is why, starting with Colombus, conquerors signed "capitulaciones" with the spanish crown to ensure their rule and administration in the new world).

Finally, I agree when you say that "remember there are very few heroes and villains". Just take that in consideration when you examine not only european history, but pre colombine cultures.


George Robert Gaston - 5/29/2007

Mr. Alejandro Méndez,

I think if you would look more closely into the background and motives of the Spanish conquistadors, you will find that economic and political interest far outstripped religion as their prime motivator.

The civil authorities, for example, requested that Papal authorities introduce the inquisition into Spain. The church did not force the institution on the state. Equipped with this fact we can see what advantage such an institution could afford a very young and unstable monarchy. Here, the state was able to use the church as a tool to create a desired degree of cultural and religious homogeny by either expelling or converting Jews and Muslims. The institution also served to check the various noble families who were potential rivals.

These aims may not hold up well to our modern sense of right and wrong. However, our understanding of right and wrong will not lead us to a better understanding of state aims. The first duty of a state is to the state. It must survive to benefit anyone.

The men who became the conquistadors were in a sense created by Spain’s unification. Many were young Spanish nobles, primarily from the South. Unification had also diminished these families influence.

In Central America and what is now Mexico they were essentially players in what amounted to a tribal civil war fought between armies numbering in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of tribal soldiers. How these few Europeans came to dominate Central and South America is amazing.

In thinking about the period one must consider that there was a point in the campaign when the Spanish would have surrendered and given themselves over to the Aztecs. But after seeing how the Aztecs treated captives they determined to die fighting rather than risk capture. So, rather than being sent back to their ships in shame, they went on to win a critical battle, and so changed the hemisphere.

I think these first Europeans had little interest in the conversion of native populations. Their aim was to amass enough wealth to return to the Iberian Peninsula and live very well. Indeed their method of obtaining this wealth was cruel. I have a sense that the “Church”, (or the few priests accompanying the military effort), probably moderated the whole bloody process.

When you are looking for political, military and historical cause and effect, remember there are very few heroes and villains. Follow the money, and the conflicting interests in obtaining it and its accompanying power. Do not follow the cross in trying to understand the period. There will be examples thrown out here and there, but you will miss the undercurrent of the political and economic realities that drove the events. This is especially true of European actions in the Americas and Africa.


Sergio Alejandro Méndez - 5/27/2007

Mr Robert Gaston:

You say that "Moreover, what a culture they destroyed! Complete with human sacrifice, constant tribal warfare, slavery and ritual torture of prisoners. What could have been better? One of the interesting things about paradise lost is that it is seldom paradise."

Is funny, but you seem to reduce the cultures that populated America to one, that practized human sacrfices, consttant tribal wefare and torture of prisoners. But then, not all cultures practized all those. Bartolomé de las Casas described many of the natives in caribean islands, as peacefull people, hardly engaged in warfare. But then, even if that was true, what right had the spanish conquerors to do so, and how Benedict is NOT lying when he denies that indegenous cultures were evanglized without the use of force? Aside, is funny...the culture that destroyed those indigenoeus cultures, christian white europeans, pracitizes all the time constant wefare -the more devasting form of national werfare- and certainly did torture prisoners. Concerning the issue of human sacrfice...what is the difference - in terms of barbarism- of aztec or mayan human sacrifices compared with, ehem, burnning people alive for the "crime" of religious dissent.

"Pre-Columbian native societies were exceptionally brutal theocracies idealized by those who either have some masochistic ideological axe to grind, or have a buck to be made by preying on those who buy their spin."

I hope you find the tremendous irony in calling pre columbine native societies "brutal theocracies" in face of the spanish inquisition, or latter the horrors comitted by protestants...


"Maybe the argument is that Europeans should have been “culturally restrained” from venturing beyond the Mediterranean into the South Atlantic."

No, the argument is that Europeans should have restrained of CONQUERING any culture, beyond or not the Mediterranean...


George Robert Gaston - 5/25/2007

Moreover, what a culture they destroyed! Complete with human sacrifice, constant tribal warfare, slavery and ritual torture of prisoners. What could have been better? One of the interesting things about paradise lost is that it is seldom paradise.

Pre-Columbian native societies were exceptionally brutal theocracies idealized by those who either have some masochistic ideological axe to grind, or have a buck to be made by preying on those who buy their spin.

I, for one think the old South was a great place until Abe Lincoln messed it up. However, that would be a hard sell among the ancestors of slaves or small Southern farmers. Likewise, the cultural richness of Mesoamerica would be a pretty hard sell to the “subordinate tribes” that helped the Spanish overthrow the Aztecs.

Criticizing a 21st Century Pope or “The Church”, (whatever that is, or was) is a little simplistic for serious discussion. I will be the first to say that the Roman church was a part of the European conquest of the Americas. However, it is a checkered history because the institution also served as a restraining influence in that conquest.

Papal support for specific actions should be examined a little more critically. Papal action concerning the Canaries was as much about the suppression of piracy as it was about saving souls. Popes, churches and their supporting governments and merchant classes rarely ignore things that are bad for business.

Maybe the argument is that Europeans should have been “culturally restrained” from venturing beyond the Mediterranean into the South Atlantic.

All this coming from a Southern Agnostic. Who would have thought.


Daniel Buck - 5/23/2007

Indeed. Good point. And now we have Polish Catholic fascists (wtf!) running around, Solidarity in ruins, East Germany atheist still, the Church on the retreat throughout Europe and the US, and so on.

To paraphrase a comment oft made about the Palestinians, the Roman Catholic Church never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


Jason Blake Keuter - 5/22/2007

your hopes for the third world being a source of reinvigoration for the church remind me of pope john paul, who saw in the captive peoples of communist eastern europe a revived catholicism waiting to break out. he too, felt that the east would be like a city on a hill that would serve as an example to reverse the decline of the church in the west.


Daniel Buck - 5/21/2007

As an ex-Catholic, I had a lot of hope before the papal elections that the Church would finally see that its strength is in the third world, and not the first. I was hoping that the new Pope would be from Africa or Latin America, and would reinvigorate the Church. It might have made me believe again. But, no, they picked this German, who, despite his interesting overtures to Orthodoxy, is basically reactionary and lacks the creativity and openmindedness of his predecessor, who was not much noted for those traits. I'm still an ex-Catholic and will remain so until they get their act together.

Mr. Ratzinger's insensitivity to Native Americans is perhaps not too surprising, as the annihilation of Native American culture is possibly the greatest crime that can be laid at the feat of the Church. What about doing some penance? How about opening up those Vatican archives, eh?