Pope Francis heals from a respiratory infection while the Vatican hopes to breathe new life into its relationship with Native Americans.
On this week's AP religion roundup of France's heels from a respiratory infection, while the Vatican hopes to breathe new life into its relationship with Native Americans. An infant is comforted by his mother as Pope Francis baptizes him at the gemelli hospital in Rome. Francis spent most of the week there, healing from bronchitis and was expected to be released Saturday. Meanwhile, the Vatican tried to heal its relationship with native tribes in North America. This week it rejected the doctrine of discovery based on 15th century decrees that legitimized the colonial era seizure of native lands. This goes beyond land. Michelle Shenandoah is a Professor of indigenous law at Syracuse university and a member of the oneida Indian nation. She says the Vatican's rejection of the doctrine should prompt governments like the United States to address past abuses. It really has created generation upon generation of genocidal policies directed towards indigenous peoples. Native groups have called on the Vatican to formally rescind the papal bulls that provided the Portuguese and Spanish kingdoms, the religious backing to expand their territories in Africa and the Americas for the sake of spreading Christianity. Those decrees underpin the doctrine of discovery, a legal concept coined in an 1823 U.S. Supreme Court decision, which was cited by the high court as recently as 2005. The repudiation of the doctrine marked a historic recognition of the Vatican's own complicity in colonial era abuses committed by European powers. Truly, it has been decades that indigenous peoples have been asking for attention to this. Father David McCallum says the post visit to Canada last year opened up a new opportunity to address the church's relationship with Native American tribes. This captured not only the Pope's attention, but also the wider Vatican's attention. Indigenous leaders welcomed the statement as a good first step. Even though they hoped the Vatican would acknowledge greater culpability for historic abuses. I'm Walter ratliff.