Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis

Pope Francis, center, is greeted by an indigenous boy and President Evo Morales in Bolivia. Photo by L'Osservatore Romano / Facebook

Retired professor Peter d'Errico wonders what will happen next after an apology to indigenous people from Pope Francis:
How will Native people who consider themselves Christian respond to the critique of Christian colonial domination? Will they rest satisfied with a papal request for forgiveness? Or will they insist that a request for forgiveness must be followed by action demonstrating real change, such as a papal revocation of the offending papal decrees?

Many people have criticized the planned canonization of Junipero Serra, the 18th century monk who was a driving force in Spanish colonization on the west coast of North America. Serra organized the effort of temporal and spiritual conquest of Native peoples in "New Spain." He was responsible for much evangelical violence in the name of Christ as he corralled forced Native labor to fill Spanish demands for tribute and treasure.

Will Christian Natives be able to see that Junipero Serra cannot be a "saint" if what he did was a "crime"? Will Christian Natives raise their voices to challenge the canonization and to see "sainthood" for Serra as a continuation of the very acts for which Francis and other popes have asked forgiveness?

Will more Christian Natives call on the church to take the next steps after requesting forgiveness and officially revoke the 500-year old papal bulls that authorized violence and domination against Native peoples?

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: Question for Christians: Will Saying Sorry Be Enough? (Indian Country Today 7/29)

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Gyasi Ross: Pope Francis issues apology to indigenous peoples (7/13)

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