23 May 2007


In a speech in Brazil last week, the pope sparked controversy by saying that native populations had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.

“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,” he said in Brazil.

I'm not quite sure what to chalk these remarks up to. I can say that claiming that you know what people long dead were "silently longing" for, at least in this context (e.g., conversion by force), is at best an arrogant remark. As for the "alienation" and "imposition" remark, well, clearly the Pope is simply ignorant of the events that took place in the Americas following Columbus' voyage. By itself suppressing the worship of the Gods of the indigenous population was an "imposition of a foreign culture."

Perhaps the Pope should read de Las Casas; clearly he needs some sort of education on this particular issue.


dhex said...



what the living hell is he thinking?

Grotius said...

Is he thinking?

Grotius said...

Of course I suppose a lot of this depends on what he means by "proclamation." Personally I consider a portion of that proclamation to be the activities of secular and church actors vis a vis the indigenous population.

dhex said...

and i don't know if i could even buy the idea that he's such a theologically minded person that he has no idea of the political ramifications of what he says in public. that seems far too naive to be true.

i think he's testing the water to see how far he can push in any given direction.

it's odd, especially in the context of his earlier "controversial" remarks re: conversion by the sword and islam.

Grotius said...

Well, a church that commits errors is a church that one can question.