We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Popes have already apologized for injustices against indigenous people in Latin America


Through this video made at the archaeological area of Comalcalco, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has made this statement.

“I sent a letter to the King of Spain and another to the pope. This is so our grievances can be heard and so they apologize to indigenous groups for the violations of their, what we now call, human rights.”

The Vatican has not responded to this letter, but the spokesman recalls the pontiffs have addressed this theme many times. 

The most recent demand for an apology toward the treatment of native peoples was fulfilled by Pope Francis in 2016, during his trip to Mexico. In the state of Chiapas, at Mass with the indigenous communities, the pope recognized the suffering of these peoples.

POPE FRANCIS
“How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, 'forgive me, forgive me, brothers and sisters!' Today’s world, ravaged as it is by a throwaway culture, needs you!”

In Bolivia, a year earlier, in 2015, Pope Francis reiterated the request for forgiveness already made by Pope John Paul II with these words.

POPE FRANCIS
“Some may rightly say, 'When the pope speaks of colonialism, he overlooks certain actions of the Church.' I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God. My predecessors acknowledged this. CELAM, the Council of Latin American Bishops, has said it, and I too wish to say it. Like Saint John Paul II, I ask that the Church – I repeat what he said – 'kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.' I would also say, and here I wish to be quite clear, as was Saint John Paul II: I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”

It wasn't only Pope Francis. Pope Benedict XVI also spoke of "shadows" during that process of evangelization. He did so in a General Audience when he returned from his trip to Brazil. He assured that "it is not possible to forget the sufferings and injustices inflicted by the colonizers on the indigenous populations, often trampled on in their fundamental human rights."

In the Dominican Republic in 1992, his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, spoke of the injustices indigenous peoples were subjected to just as he did in 1983 in Guatemala. 

Contrary to what the current president of Mexico thinks, the popes have been asking for "forgiveness" for decades for everything that the Church did wrong in that particular historical period.