Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI's words on Native Americans to CELAM

In recent days following Pope Benedict XVI's appearance in Aparecida, Brazil the Fifth General Conference of Latin-American Bishops, there has been criticism for the Holy Father's statements. Particularly, the Holy Father has been criticised for his words on the evangelization of Native Peoples:

...what did the acceptance of the Christian faith mean for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean? For them, it meant knowing and welcoming Christ, the unknown God whom their ancestors were seeking, without realizing it, in their rich religious traditions. Christ is the Saviour for whom they were silently longing. It also meant that they received, in the waters of Baptism, the divine life that made them children of God by adoption; moreover, they received the Holy Spirit who came to make their cultures fruitful, purifying them and developing the numerous seeds that the incarnate Word had planted in them, thereby guiding them along the paths of the Gospel. In effect, the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbian cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture. Authentic cultures are not closed in upon themselves, nor are they set in stone at a particular point in history, but they are open, or better still, they are seeking an encounter with other cultures, hoping to reach universality through encounter and dialogue with other ways of life and with elements that can lead to a new synthesis, in which the diversity of expressions is always respected as well as the diversity of their particular cultural embodiment.
He has been sharply criticized for his statements from the heresy-plagued Indigenous Missionary Council. Father Paulo Suess told the Reuters news service that the Pope’s statement “was wrong and indefensible.” See Rorate Caeli for additional details.

As the blogger at Hallowedground stated with the above image, "Somebody should have told this Priest."

Photo Source: Father John J. Brown, first full-blooded Blackfoot Indian to become a priest of the Roman Catholic church, 1948


del_button May 16, 2007 at 1:11 AM
PBXVI said...

HI Seminarian Matthew, you've been tagged! God Bless!

del_button October 15, 2009 at 9:06 AM
Anonymous said...

With all due respect but he remarks by Pope Bedenict 16 are indeed indefensible and contrary to the apology by Pope John Paul 2 made previously to this. It was of course ok for those Indians who voluntarily converted to Catholicism, nothing wrong with that though. But as Native Americans didn't know about Christianity prior to the arrival of Europeans it is impossible for them to have been "silently longing" for it. The missionaries didn't know about their spirituality nor did they show any interest in it, seeing that they prohibited parying with the pipe, their give aways, or powwows. And this is all documented history.

I would never mock or insult anyone, but number 2 of what you regard as unacceptable I just do not understand. I would think it's is everybody's free choice whether to be religious or not. However, I was raised a Catholic myself.

del_button April 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM
Anonymous said...

How terrible that photo would be if it were the other way around. Having a group of catholic priests crawling out of a sweat lodge, being led by a medicine man, and having being guided, or converted to accept the native way of prayer and spirituality, hoping to reach universality through encounter and dialogue with other ways of life to reach a new synthesis. They could respect their diversity of expressions in this manner. Or I suppose that would be anti-Catholic. Anti-American? Native American? I wonder how that photo looks through native eyes? I wouldn't know. God Bless America!

del_button May 27, 2010 at 11:02 PM
Anonymous said...

to the posting on April 25th, honestly, there is not much to be said about the photo.. there is nothing wrong with it or anything of that nature. in all, it really makes sense to me that some native americans were not that accepting of christianity, while others were. for an example, i am native american and was raised with both native and christian beliefs, but was not forced into it. personally, i find that they fit together very well and makes the most sense to me to have both. although, i strongly disagree with the way many missionaries forced their beliefs onto others.. if anything that is something that pushes many i know away from christianity and caused great harm when boarding schools discouraged their own language/culture, such cultural loss still having great negative effects. i think that if people were told of jesus and the bible in a different way, not forcing/imposing, they would be/would have been more accepting, especially since it would not make sense that they would not take to heart the truths and love that is found in christian teaching, who wouldn't welcome more insight on such things?.. this goes for others wanting to know more about native american cultures.. i would strongly encourage it. For an example, the lakota culture involves many important values and a deeper connection with those around u as well as the earth and its creatures which i thinks really covers some other bases not often discussed in any masses or church groups i've attended

del_button September 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM
Anonymous said...

I am a native american and I DO NOT find this offensive. I am a catholic too and was not forced upon me. Bleeding hearts.

del_button December 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM
Anonymous said...

I am not Catholic nor of Native American descent. I am African American and it pains me to see a photo like this, how racist of the Catholics to presume that Native Americans who long predated Europeans were longing for this new found fake religion. The Native Americans were almost annihilated, for the purpose of occupation of migrating Europeans (Dutch, Brits, Germans, etc.). This so-called Catholic/Christian religion was forced upon the Natives, they did not willingly accept this religion; malnutrition and other oppressive means were subjected upon the Natives, which led to acculteration and colonization and acceptance of the Catholic/Christian faith. All their forms of culture, spirituallity, environment, governance, between their people were deminish and viewed as archaic and animalistic without even understanding their way of life. All of this was done to them for hundreds of years just like Africans for the sole purpose of European empire and domination.

Post a Comment

Copyright / Disclaimer

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”