“I was woken up at five in the morning by the sound of pounding on my door,” said Omar Ezubeik, a Tripolitan. “It was...
Syrian opposition leaders are calling for urgent international intervention in the besieged city of Homs, located 100...
From the Blog
Pope attempts to control damage caused by remarks
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI, acknowledging the "suffering" of indigenous Latin Americans, moved to control damage caused by remarks made during his trip to Brazil, eight months after roiling the Muslim world with comments linking Islam to violence.
One cannot "ignore the suffering and the injustices inflicted by the colonizers on the indigenous populations (whose) fundamental human rights were often trampled on," Benedict said during his weekly general audience.
The pope had said on the last day of his May 9-13 trip to Brazil that "Christianity was not imposed by a foreign culture," drawing a sharp reaction from leaders of indigenous groups to whom the remark smacked of revisionism.
The 80-year-old pope also called the resurgence of pre-Columbian religions "a step backward," offending native peoples as far away as Mexico.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded an apology following Benedict’s trip, his first to the Americas since his election as pope two years ago. Indigenous and missionary groups in Brazil praised the pope for revising his controversial remark.
The pontiff is sometimes "remarkably tone-deaf to how his pronouncements may sound to people who don’t share his intellectual and cultural premises," said Vatican expert John Allen of the US-based National Catholic Reporter in an online editorial.
Benedict did not "bend over backwards" to recall the brutality of Spain’s conquistadors while converting native peoples to Christianity, he noted.
By contrast, Pope Benedict’s media-savvy predecessor John Paul II, during a 1992 visit to the Dominican Republic, asked for forgiveness from indigenous peoples for the suffering inflicted by Spanish colonizers.