I was distressed to read of the Doctrine of Discovery which gave Europeans the right to conquer lands which were not theirs, and to enslave the indigenous peoples of this continent.
I found this piece the following week, “Will others follow Episcopal Church’s lead?” by Robert J. Miller [Vol. 29, No. 10] an excellent follow-up on the matter.
The Episcopal Church has shown great courage and foresight here, and of course other churches should follow their lead.
My Catholic Church, especially, should be in the forefront. The Doctrine of Discovery was primarily developed by European monarchs and the Catholic Church in the 15th and 16th centuries. I was appalled to read of the papal bull issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1455, which was then further defined by Pope Alexander VI in 1493. “Pagans and enemies of Christ?” Native Americans I have known have shown more compassion, loyalty and love than many so-called Christians exhibit.
I am ashamed for my church and would hope that the Vatican would offer a contrite apology as it has done in other cases. I will contact my local bishop with hopes that this attracts the attention of the U.S. Catholic bishops, and eventually the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI.
– Lorenzo A. Gurreri
Colorado Springs, Colo.