Purification? We talkin’ about Hitler here? No, the Pope
In an unbelievably shortsighted and offensive speech on Monday, in the largest Catholic country on earth, the pope attempted to rewrite church history.
BRASILIA, May 14 -Outraged Indian leaders in Brazil said on Monday they were offended by Pope Benedict’s “arrogant and disrespectful” comments that the Roman Catholic Church had purified them and a revival of their religions would be a backward step.
Further, in a statement that was at best ignorant and at worst deceitful, he said that the church had not imposed itself on the indigenous people but that, “they had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were silently longing for Christianity.” In fact, as Reuters points out,
Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church since Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, through slaughter, disease or enslavement. Priests blessed conquistadors as they waged war on the indigenous peoples. Many Indians today struggle for survival, stripped of their traditional ways of life and excluded from society.
Sandra Tuxa, who heads the movement of northeastern tribes said,
Pope Benedict not only upset many Indians but also Catholic priests who have joined their struggle. We repudiate the Pope’s comments. To say the cultural decimation of our people represents a purification is offensive, and frankly, frightening.
Even the Catholic Church’s own Indian advocacy group in Brazil, known as Cimi, distanced itself from the Pope.
The Pope doesn’t understand the reality of the Indians here, his statement was wrong and indefensible,” Cimi advisor Father Paulo Suess told Reuters. “I too was upset.”
Frightening indeed. History is not the least bit unclear about the miseries inflicted upon the Indians by the church and its agents. For the pope to actually make these inane and disgusting statements in a public forum tells me that the Catholic church is being led by a man who is either totally out of touch with reality or completely ignorant of the actual history. If either is true, then he is unfit for his office.