Søndag 13. mai var pave Benedikts siste dag i Brasil, og da han snakket til den store bispekonferansen i Aparecida, sa han at Christianity was not imposed upon native peoples, but rather it was the fulfillment to which their religious experience pointed.
“The Utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward,” Benedict said in Aparecida.”Indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past.”
Etter den uttalelsen ble han kristisert av mange for å ha vært uvitende eller uten sympati for indianernes skjebne da Amerika ble kolonisert av (ofte brutale) europeere. I gårsdagens vanlige onsdagsaudiens på Petersplassen snakket paven en del om sin Brasil-reise, og tok implisitt opp denne kritikken. Han visste (selvsagt) at ikke alle misjonærer, prester og biskoper alltid hadde behandlet indianerne så godt som de skulle, men han mener fortsatt (også selvsagt, syns jeg) at det kristne budskapet er en velsignelse for alle kulturer. Enkelte aviser er da i dag heller ikke fornøyd med pavens presisering – og det måtte man vel også vente.
I går sa paven bl.a. at “the sufferings and the injustices inflicted by the colonizers on the indigenous populations, who often saw their fundamental human rights trampled upon,” and cannot be forgotten. … … he pope’s comments today suggest that when Benedict said on Sunday that Christ was not an “imposition,” he meant the teachings of Christianity, not the concrete behavior of Christian colonizers – whom, Benedict admitted, were sometimes guilty of “unjustifiable crimes.”
At the same time, Benedict said, there were also Christian missionaries and theologians who defended the natives, such as Bartolomeo de Las Casas and Francesco da Vitoria of the University of Salamanca. Acknowledging the mixed historical record, he said, “must not prevent us from noting with gratitude the marvelous work performed by divine grace among these populations in the course of the centuries.”
“Today, in the epoch of globalization, this Catholic identity still presents itself as the most adequate response,” Benedict XVI said, “provided that it’s animated by a serious doctrinal formation and by the principles of the social doctrine of the church.”
Denne analysen har jeg tatt fra John Allen. Les også hele pavens tale ved gårsdagens onsdagsaudiens.