In Canada in July 2022 at the request of ‘first nations’ peoples – whose children were kidnapped and abused in residential schools in the past (in an attempt to replace their native culture and beliefs with an oppressive European Christianity) – Pope Francis may well feel obliged to confront other issues that trouble the whole of North America.
Aside from an obvious need for the Catholic church to repudiate its own past support for white European imperialism, there is now an obvious need also to confront the growth of a new 21st century white European nationalism that threatens to destabilise even the USA’s experiment in democracy.
With most US Catholic bishops silent on the attempted Trumpian coup of January 6th 2022 against the lawfully elected presidency of Joe Biden, it is far from clear that they are as enthusiastic about democracy as Pope Francis. Will he take the opportunity of his visit to Canada to comment on that issue as well?
And on the issue of white negative reaction against mass immigration to the USA from south and central America that is so much a part of white US paranoia and populism?
The papal Dum Diversas Bull of 1452, and other related bulls (proclamations), gave the Pope’s blessing to European efforts ‘to capture, vanquish, and subdue the Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ and put them into perpetual slavery and to take all their possession and their property.’ Collectively these became known as the ‘Doctrine of Discovery‘.
In 2009, the Episcopal (Anglican) Church repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, and Catholic religious orders have called on Pope Francis to follow suit.
Already he has apologised to the first nations for the Catholic Church’s part in the residential schools that caused so much suffering. Soon he may go further, but by how much?
For an NCR article on the Doctrine of Discovery, click here.