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    Highlights from the Pope’s Apology to Indigenous Peoples of Latin America

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    [pull_quote_center]Many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God…I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”[/pull_quote_center]

    From his remarks on LGBTQ issues to kissing the feet of prisoners, Pope Francis has kept the world on its toes–and now he’s doing it again. Just yesterday the Pope delivered a statement of apology to the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Equally importantly, he included a call to action for humanity as a whole.

    By the end of his speech, after acknowledging that “neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues…” Pope Francis outlined three pertinent tasks:

    1. “The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples…

    “Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money… The economy should not be a mechanism for accumulating goods, but rather the proper administration of our common home. This entails a commitment to care for that home and to the fitting distribution of its goods among all.”

    2. “The second task is to unite our peoples on the path of peace and justice… 

    “The world’s peoples want to be artisans of their own destiny. They want to advance peacefully towards justice. They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less. They want their culture, their language, their social processes and their religious traditions to be respected. No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty.”

    3. “The third task, perhaps the most important facing us today, is to defend Mother Earth…  

    “Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result. There exists a clear, definite and pressing ethical imperative to implement what has not yet been done. We cannot allow certain interests–interests which are global but not universal–to take over, to dominate states and international organizations, and to continue destroying creation. People and their movements are called to cry out, to mobilize and to demand–peacefully, but firmly–that appropriate and urgently-needed measures be taken. I ask you, in the name of God, to defend Mother Earth.”

     

    His message was empowering, but was it enough? Will the Pope’s demands for radical societal change be heard here in the Americas?

    [pull_quote_center]In conclusion, I would like to repeat: the future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers and the elites. It is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize… Let us together say from the heart: no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no laborer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age. Keep up your struggle and, please, take great care of Mother Earth.[/pull_quote_center]

     

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