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Vatican Formally Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery

Dylan Mulvaney, Kate Spade New York, Vatican, Doctrine of Discovery, colonization, indigenous peoples, Catholic Church, European powers, papal bull
Mirror7
Vatican Formally Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery

Vatican Formally Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery

The Vatican has formally repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, a centuries-old concept used to justify European colonization of indigenous lands. In a statement released on March 29th, the Vatican declared that the Doctrine of Discovery "was based on a mentality of domination and exploitation that today we consider profoundly misguided."

Background of the Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery originated in 15th century Europe when explorers were sent to explore and conquer new lands. The Doctrine was used to justify the seizure of land belonging to indigenous peoples. The Doctrine stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be "discovered" and claimed for Christian monarchs. This doctrine was used to justify the colonization of the Americas, Africa, and Asia by European powers.

The Catholic Church played a significant role in the development and spread of the Doctrine of Discovery. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter caetera, which granted Spain exclusive rights to colonize the Americas. This bull gave Spanish explorers the right to "discover, search out, and capture" any non-Christian peoples and their lands.

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The Church's Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery

The Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery is a significant step forward in the Church's efforts to address its complicity in the colonization and exploitation of indigenous peoples. The statement released by the Vatican notes that the Doctrine of Discovery "was not a Catholic teaching, but rather a legal and cultural instrument that was used in various historical contexts."

The statement also recognizes the harm caused by the Doctrine, stating that it "contributed to the marginalization and discrimination of indigenous peoples" and "disregarded their cultures, languages, and traditions." The Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery is an important acknowledgment of the harm caused by centuries of colonialism and exploitation.

Response from Church Leaders and Indigenous Peoples

The Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery has been welcomed by many Church leaders and indigenous peoples. In a statement, Father Michael Czerny, Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, called the repudiation a "milestone" and a "decisive step in recognizing the injustices that indigenous peoples have suffered."

Jose Tolentino Mendonca, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, also praised the Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. In a statement, he said that the repudiation "offers a new perspective on the history of colonialism and raises important questions about the relationship between power and culture."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also released a statement in support of the Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. In their statement, they called the Doctrine a "flawed and harmful concept" and acknowledged the need for the Church to "repent for the ways in which it has participated in the colonization and exploitation of indigenous peoples."

The Vatican's repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery is a significant step forward in the Church's efforts to address its complicity in the colonization and exploitation of indigenous peoples. The repudiation acknowledges the harm caused by the Doctrine and offers a new perspective on the history of colonialism. This repudiation is an important step towards reconciliation and healing between the Church and indigenous peoples.

Keywords: Vatican, Doctrine of Discovery, colonization, indigenous peoples, Catholic Church, European powers, papal bull, complicity, injustice, reconciliation.

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