Pope Benedict XVI admits being wrong on American Indians

Spanish killing Indians, from book by De Las Casas

In Roman Catholic doctrine, Popes are supposed to be infallible.

So, only rarely do they admit having been wrong.

However, the present Pope, Benedict XVI, who has not been in office for long, already had to admit having been wrong at least twice.

First, on anti Muslim sentences in a speech.

And now, on the indigenous people of the Americas.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Pope: Indians suffered from Christianization

The pope has recognized that the conversion to Christianity of the American continent brought suffering to the Indians.

Benedict admitted that the indigenous nations have often been ill-treated.

This month, the pope during his visit to Brazil had still said that the bringing of Catholicism supposedly had nothing to do with imposing a foreign culture.

That he said that made many Indians angry.

They called the pope without respect and arrogant.

The president of Venezuela, Chavez, asked Benedict to apologize for this, for denying the ‘holocaust’ of the Indians.

See also History News Network on this.

Jason Coppola, Truthout: “Margarita Gutierrez Romero is the president of the State Coordinator of Indigenous Women Organizations in Chiapas, Mexico. In New York City to participate in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), Romero told us, ‘Indigenous peoples are being permanently alienated from our being. We are being stripped, ripped off, and plundered of our values, our spirituality, our spirits, even of our gods,’ she said. Romero was speaking at a side event about the root of the problems affecting her people – the dehumanization caused by the ‘Doctrine of Christian Discovery'”: here.

Scientists tell the story of three 16th century African slaves identified from a mass burial site in Mexico City. Using a combination of genetic, osteological, and isotope analyses, the scientists determined from where in Africa they were likely captured, the physical hardships they experienced as slaves, and what novel pathogens they may have carried with them across the Atlantic: here.

30 thoughts on “Pope Benedict XVI admits being wrong on American Indians

  1. Just to say that (like most uninformed people) you are misinterpreting the so called infallibility of Popes. Only “ex cathedra” formulations are infallible. And these are always doctrinal expositions. Very few of these “infallible statements” had been made my popes thus far. Popes are human beings and not the stereotype caricatures that we like to joke about. I’m not Catholic, but this Pope is no fool. He is quite brilliant in fact. He spoke to the bishops and would have taken it for granted that they know everything about the history of the conquistadores in Latin America. The Catholic Church in any case has time and again asked for forgiveness for past wrongs. He still has the right to express his opinion on the long term spiritual gains that Christianity brought.


  2. Both my examples, on Muslims and on the indigenous people of the Americas *were* ‘doctrinal expositions.’

    Of course, the Pope, like any other person, has a right to free speech. He did speak to the bishops, but of course, he knew (being indeed no “fool”, but maybe deficient in other qualities) that media would bring the speech to a much bigger audience. However, it sounds very bitter to hear about “long term spiritual gains that Christianity brought”, if that starts with millions of people tortured to death and enslaved. Please read Bishop de Las Casas, etc.


  3. I beg to differ with your understanding of infallibility. However, since you know it all, why should you listen to anyone regarding the facts. Its your way. Its your blog. Why should the truth get in the way of you expressing your opinion. Have you ever done any serious research? Not likely. Infallibility: means incapability of teaching what is false having divinely kept from the possibility or error in definitive teaching in matters of faith and morals. If you are going to make judgments regarding a group of people it would help you to overcome your ignorance of what that group of people define as their meaning of a given idea. Since you have never seen this definition, it is understandable that you are merely ignorant.

    This ignorance has enabled you to make a blog based upon error, so it has no credibility. What you describe as” infallibility” refers to making errors in human judgment regarding the science of natural events. For example in the late 1890’s many Protestants believed that the eugenics scientific theories: of discarding black families through sterilization was a good thing. Margaret Sanger, one of the promoters of the Eugenics Movement (a fallen away Catholic) believed that removing black families would save the World from having the misfortune of being unnecessary food wasters. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL) in 1921 with Lothrop Stoddard and C. C. Little. It received crucial grants from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s Bureau of Social Hygiene from 1924 onwards, which were made anonymously to avoid public exposure of the Rockefeller name to her agenda. The family also consistently supported her ongoing efforts in regard to population control.[7]
    Also in 1923, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control and served as its president until its dissolution in 1937 after birth control, under medical supervision, was legalized in many states. In 1927, Sanger helped organize the first World Population Conference in Geneva.
    Was this eugenics theories that Protestant churches accepted considered part of their faith founded on biblical principles. No of course not! Nor did any Protestant church suggest that eugenics was part of the Holy Bible. But some pastors tried to interpret the Bible, however, they were never successful. Well this eugenics movement supported the Jim Crow laws which eventually were brought down. It was made on racial differences and ignorance. Worst than that is that without Margaret Sanger there would have been no Abortion in the United States. There would never have been a serious promotion of Birth Control had not Protestant churches accepted the principles laid down by Margaret Sanger’s World Population Organization.

    The promotion of ignorance is what happens when poor research is done. I doubt if this email will be put on your blog site because no one can claim to be honest and truthful when promoting ignorance. In the case of your blog site you only show your ignorance to everyone who reads it.


  4. Hi taekwondodad, I will not go into all of your anti Protestant anti women conspiracy theory rant, where you link everything to everything by guilt by association; and, as is the case with your fellow conspiracy theorists, end up proving nothing. I note that you avoid the issues of Islamophobia and native Americans, which are the topics of this blog entry. And start an off topic long rant.

    You write “without Margaret Sanger there would have been no Abortion in the United States”. Of course there was abortion in the USA long before Margaret Sanger was born. Long before the independence of the USA, in fact. There was abortion with needles, hot water, and other dangerous means which often killed or maimed pregnant women. Your ilk, at least the hard core of your ilk, which throws bombs at abortion clinics and murders doctors, wants to drive women back to those ages past. Do not imagine the bombs and guns will stop abortion. They just drive women back to the bloody mess and deaths of your favourite dark ages.


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