U.S. and Canadian bishops join Vatican’s condemnation of colonialist ‘doctrine of discovery’


Pope Francis address representatives of Canada’s indigenous peoples at the archbishop’s residence in Québec City. / Vatican Media

Washington D.C., Mar 30, 2023 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

The U.S. and Canadian bishops released statements Thursday praising the Vatican’s repudiation of the “doctrine of discovery,” which has been used in the past to justify European colonialism in the Americas and throughout the world.

The doctrine of discovery is a philosophical, political, and legal theory that posits that European colonizers have the right to expropriate indigenous lands and property.

The theory has been said to have its origin in certain 15th-century papal bulls including Dum Diversas, Romanus Pontifex, and Inter Caetera, and has been invoked by many, including the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1823 case Johnson v. McIntosh.

On Thursday, a joint statement of the Vatican’s Dicasteries for Culture and Education and for Promoting Integral Human Development formally denounced the doctrine of discovery, saying it “is not part of the teaching of the Catholic Church” and that the Church “repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples.”

In an official statement, the secretary for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Paul Coakley, responded by saying: “We welcome the [Vatican] statement’s renewed repudiation and condemnation of the violence and injustices committed against Native and Indigenous peoples as well as the Church’s ongoing support for their dignity and human rights.”

“In the centuries that followed the papal bulls at issue, many popes boldly proclaimed the God-given rights owed to all peoples, but we must also confront those moments when individual Christians lacked such boldness or clarity,” Coakley said. “There were times when Christians, including ecclesiastical authorities, failed to fully oppose destructive and immoral actions of the competing colonial powers. In this regard, we too express deep sorrow and regret.”

“These papal bulls did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) said in an official statement, adding that the bulls “were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers; and that Indigenous peoples suffered the terrible effects of the assimilation policies of colonizing nations.”

Echoing the Vatican’s statement, the Canadian bishops recalled Pope Francis’ words during a Quebec address in which he said: “Never again can the Christian community allow itself to be infected by the idea that one culture is superior to others, or that it is legitimate to employ ways of coercing others.”

During what he described as a “penitential pilgrimage,” Pope Francis spoke with Indigenous Canadians and listened to their complaints regarding their treatment by colonizers and the Catholic Church.

The CCCB also praised the Vatican’s recognition of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which if implemented, the CCCB says, “would help to improve the living conditions of Indigenous peoples, to protect their rights, as well as to support their self-development in continuity with their identity, language, history, and culture.”

Both the U.S. and Canadian bishops echoed the Vatican’s sentiment expressed in the joint dicastery statement, saying though the Church has defended the rights of the weak and poor throughout history, “many Christians have committed evil acts against Indigenous peoples for which recent popes have asked forgiveness on numerous occasions.”

According to both bishops’ statements, the USCCB and CCCB, with the encouragement of the Vatican, are “exploring” the establishment of an academic symposium for continued dialogue between indigenous and Catholic scholars.

“As a Church, it is important for us to fully understand how our words have been used and misused to justify acts that would be abhorrent to Jesus Christ,” Coakley said. “We hope for more dialogue among Indigenous and Catholic scholars to promote greater and wider understanding of this difficult history.”

“May God bless with healing all those who continue to suffer the legacy of colonialism, and may we all offer true aid and support,” Coakley concluded. “By God’s grace, may we never return to the way of colonization but rather walk together in the way of peace.”

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  1. Deuteronomy 33:17
    The majestic bull, his father’s first-born, whose horns are those of the wild ox With which to gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth.” (These are the myriads of Ephraim, and these the thousands of Manasseh).

    It is Abraham’s great, great grandson Ephraim, through which the ‘Blessing of Abraham’ flows. The evil ‘colonial’ imperial power that white race Pope Francis keeps talking about, is the Descendants of Ephraim, who are the white race, who presently have complete dominance, power and control, over our Catholic Church today. The white Vatican Gay Lobby, the white Galen Mafia, the white Vatican Freemasons, the white Vatican Bank Mafia, the white papacy for over 1300 years, are all ‘colonial’ Descendants of Ephraim, who are presently trying to destroy Jesus culture of Catholic Faith in His Church.

    The ‘End Times’ ‘Harlot of Babylon’ is the ‘colonial’ white race, Prodigal Son, Descendants of Ephraim, dominating over Christ’s Church, and the world, in the era of the Apocalypse. “The woman you saw is the great city which has sovereignty over the kings of the earth”, is the white race having ‘sovereignty’ on earth, via God’s gift of the Blessing of Abraham, through the Descendants of Ephraim. The Prodigal Son, Rebellious to God, exiled from the Promised Land, Descendants of Ephraim have gravely distorted the ‘Blessing of Abraham’, to now abuse and persecute Christ’s Catholic Church from inside, and outside, Christ’s Church on earth.

    Revelation 17:15
    The waters on which you saw the harlot enthroned are the large numbers of people and nations and tongues… REV 17:18 The woman you saw is the great city which has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.

    Revelation 17:1
    Then one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come here. I will show you the judgment on the great harlot* who lives near the many waters. The kings of the earth have had intercourse with her, and the inhabitants of the earth became drunk on the wine of her harlotry.” Then he carried me away in spirit to a deserted place where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns. The woman was wearing purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls.d She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry. On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

    Because Abraham was faithful to God, God Blessed Abraham’s descendants above other descendants. The ‘Blessing of Abraham’ (Genesis 22:16-18) is: Will have Myriads of descendants (Joshua 17:14); Will have great wealth (Deuteronomy 33:13); Will have world dominant Power (Genesis 17:15); Will grow to become a multitude of nations (Genesis 48:17).

    So what we have to do, is to get ‘colonial’ white race Pope Francis to remove all Descendants of Ephraim, who are the white race, from all top positions of power in the Catholic Church, and we will have removed the Apocalyptic ‘Harlot of Babylon’ from having power and control over Christ’s Catholic Church on earth.

    • Penance! Penance! Penance! Fellow Descendants of Ephraim!

      Matthew 8:11
      Mark what I say! Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while the natural heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the dark, Wailing will be heard there, and the grinding of teeth.

      Hosea 5:9
      Ephraim shall become a waste on the day of chastisement: Against the tribes of Israel I announce what is sure to be.

      Isaiah 10:20
      The Light of Israel will become a fire, the Holy One, a flame, That burns and consumes its briers and its thorns in a single day. And the glory of its forests and orchards will be consumed, soul and body, and it will be like a sick man who wastes away. And the remnant of the trees in his forest will be so few, that any child can record them.

      On that day The remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no more lean upon the one who struck them; But they will lean upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. Though your people, O Israel, were like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant of them will return; their destruction is decreed, as overflowing justice demands. For the Lord, the GOD of hosts, is about to carry out the destruction decreed in the midst of the whole land.

      Isaiah 17:14
      The fortress shall vanish from Ephraim and dominion from Damascus; The remnant of Aram shall become like the glory of the Israelites- oracle of the LORD of hosts. On that day The glory of Jacob shall fade, and his full body shall grow thin. Like the reaper’s mere armful of stalks, when he gathers the standing grain; Or as when one gleans the ears in the Valley of Rephaim. Only gleanings shall be left in it, as when an olive tree has been beaten-Two or three olives at the very top, four or five on its most fruitful branches-oracle of the LORD, the God of Israel. On that day people shall turn to their maker, their eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel.

      Hosea 6:10
      In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing:
      there harlotry is found in Ephraim,
      Israel is defiled. For you also, O Judah,
      a harvest has been appointed.

      Revelation 18:21
      A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea and said: “With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down, and will never be found again”.

    • There is no such thing as “race” in the first place nor any “White” race.
      Evangelization is a good thing & shouldn’t be apologized for. Colonization is a different matter. Some good things came out of colonization, but stealing land, force marching people off to reservations & breaking treaties were not good. Those can legitimately be apologized for but I’m not sure the Church has the first responsibility for that.
      I wish we could go back & fix history but that not being possible I hope we can at least learn something from it going forward.

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