The doctrine is a 15th-century policy backed by a “papal bull” that justified the seizure of indigenous lands during the colonial period.
New Zealand’s Catholic bishops say they are carefully considering calls by Maori leaders in recent years for the Catholic Church to reject the doctrine of the Breakthrough.
On Friday, the conference said it welcomed the Vatican’s move to deny the doctrine.
“We despise and absolutely reject the belief that one group of people is superior to another in the 21st century,” New Zealand’s bishops said in a statement.
“To the Maori leaders who asked us to reject the doctrine, and to all other people in this country, we reject it completely and unconditionally.
“Such doctrine does not exist in our world and should not be part of the debate about the future direction of this country.”
Tina Ngata (pictured), an Aotearoa indigenous rights advocate, said Maori wanted bishops to “understand the impact of the doctrine and work to reverse the white supremacist ideology it initiated.” It says it is.
“The royal family here at Aotearoa must also reject this doctrine and remove its application from the legal framework.”
Taranaki Whānui Speaker Kara Puketapu-Dentice described the Vatican’s move as a “good first step”.
Puketapu Dentis said he is working with the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington to “try to give meaning to words”, including returning Catholic lands to Maori.
He hoped the New Zealand government would take note of this change and take action, including updating the education curriculum.
Claire Charters, indigenous rights governance partner at the Te Kahui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission, said the denial was the Vatican’s final acknowledgment of its legacy of racism and the deprivation of indigenous peoples, including Maori. He said that it shows that
“The doctrine of discovery underpinned the idea that indigenous peoples were not human, so that European powers were free to colonize empty territories.”
Movements to reject the doctrine of discovery followed Pope Francis visited Canada last year.
Late September 2022, CathNews reported The Vatican and Canadian bishops were working together to produce the papal statement.
Doctrine denial officially announced Joint statement From the Vatican Decastery for Culture and Integrative Human Development.
“Christian communities must never again be allowed to be infected with the idea that one culture is superior to another, or that it is justified to adopt methods of coercion on other cultures.” Pope Francis writes.
A Vatican statement acknowledges the church’s past failures.
It also acknowledges that in the course of history, “many Christians have committed wicked acts against the indigenous peoples.”
It emphasized a commitment to efforts aimed at healing and reconciliation.
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https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/04/03/vatican-repudiates-doctrine-of-discovery/ Vatican denies ‘discovery doctrine’