Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brazilian Indigenous Leaders Condemn Pope

Indian leaders in Brazil have reacted angrily to comments by Pope Benedict that they had been purified by the Roman Catholic church since Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492.

In a speech to bishops at the end of a visit to Brazil on Sunday, Benedict said indigenous people of the Americas had welcomed European priests after conquest. "It's arrogant and disrespectful to consider our cultural heritage secondary to theirs," said Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, chief co-ordinator of Coiab, an Amazon Indian group.

The pope had said the peoples of the Americas had a "silent longing" for Christianity and welcomed European priests' arrival. He said the church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Brazil's National Indian Foundation (Funa i),Brazilian historians and the Indians themselves challenged pope Benedict XVI's declarations on the Christianization of the Brazil's natives. The pope talked about the subject at the opening of the 5th General Conference of the Latin-American and Caribbean Episcopate (CELAM), in Brazil.

See also: "Pope angers indigenous Brazilians over Christianity and colonisation remark"

And in the Reuters report in The Washington Post: "Brazil's Indians Offended by Pope Comments"

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