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Monday, May 14, 2007

Proof of the Pope's fallibility

If you were raised Catholic as I was, you're probably familiar with the concept of Papal Infallibility. Basically, we're told that the Pope cannot err when he speaks on matters of faith and morality, as he is guided by the Holy Spirit. Well, either the Holy Spirit was on break during Benedict XVI's trip to Brazil, or the Pope was speaking off the cuff.

In a brilliant piece of revisionist history making, the Pope told a group of bishops that the indigenous peoples of South America had "silently longed" to be converted by the conquistadors, that the experience purified them, and any attempts to revive indigenous religion would be a "step backward."

The years of suffering and brutality that accompanied that conversion to Christianity was just part of the purification process, I guess. Next Benny will tell us that the Jews of Spain were really masochists who wanted to be tortured by Torquemada during the Spanish Inquisition, and that any attempts by their descendants to reclaim their heritage would be a huge mistake.

Some may find my picture of the Pope offensive, but it's certainly no more disrespectful than his remarks. Consider us even.

Here are excerpts from the Reuters story:

Brazil's Indians offended by Pope comments

By Raymond Colitt

BRASILIA, May 14 (Reuters) - 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.

In a speech to Latin American and Caribbean bishops at the end of a visit to Brazil, the Pope said the Church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

They had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were "silently longing" for Christianity, he said.

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. ...

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."

Read the full article
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