Indigenous peoples in Canada: ‘Theory of Discovery’ statement a new step towards reconciliation – Vatican News Vatican

In a statement, Indigenous groups in Canada applauded the Vatican for rejecting the notion that was used to justify the seizure of Aboriginal land by colonial powers. The New Zealand bishops also “categorically and unreservedly” reject and condemn the belief that “one group is superior to another”.

(Vatican News Network)Canada’s First Nations Aboriginal group welcomed the Vatican’s refutation of the “discovery theory”, calling it “another profound step on our road to reconciliation”. First Nations groups commented in a statement on a joint statement issued by the Holy See’s Congregation for Culture and Education and the Congregation for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. The joint statement states that the “discovery theory” does not belong to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Indigenous Canadians said they were willing to take the time to fully understand the implications of the joint statement.

Eight months following Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to Canada, the two ministries of the Holy See have clarified that while the 15th-century Pope issued several mandates to colonial powers, these decrees never became discipline. The Congregation made it clear that the Catholic Church rejects “ideas that do not recognize the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples”. In their announcement, the First Nations groups of Canada mentioned that the most important request of the Pope when he visited their lands last July was to cancel the “doctrine of discovery”. Indigenous people also said that hearing Pope Francis’ apology “was the first important step towards healing”.

In addition, the bishops of New Zealand also express their support for the “Vatican’s strong refutation of the ideas of the colonial era” regarding the joint statement of the Congregation for Culture and Education and the Congregation for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. During the colonial era, European powers used the “theory of discovery” to seize many lands owned by indigenous peoples. In a statement published on the bishops’ conference website, the New Zealand priests said they had “considered carefully the repeated calls over the years by Maori leaders to the Catholic Church to reject the ‘discovery theory'”.

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“In the 21st century, we abhor and flatly reject the belief that ‘one group is superior to another’,” the New Zealand priests wrote. Then, the priests appealed to those who “called for the rejection of the ‘discovery theory.'” Maori leaders”, and reiterated to all New Zealanders that their rejection was “categorical and unreserved”. The New Zealand bishops conclude by emphasizing that “such a theory has no place in our world and should not be in any speech regarding the future of this country”.

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