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Duke Kwon @dukekwondc
, 6 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. The Church provided the moral/theological grounds for the dispossession of natives and “discovery” of the New World. It did so by issuing papal bulls such as Inter Caetera (1493), written by Pope Alexander VI the year after Columbus’ voyage. #ColumbusDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay
2. This bull established that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed by rulers in the name of Christ. It granted Spain by divine authority “full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind” to conquer most of the Americas.
3. Inter Caetera didn’t stand alone. In fact, it was a reiteration of, and elaboration upon, the moral reasoning of prior papal bulls. For example, the bull Dum Diversas, issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1452, appealed to “Apostolic Authority” and granted the Portuguese crown:
4. Pope Nicholas V also wrote the bull Romanus Pontifex, issued in 1454. It, too, blessed the seizure of lands in parts of Africa/New World. Romanus Pontifex, like Dum Diversas, legitimized the enslavement of non-Christian people. It re-affirmed the right:
5. These formal decrees provided the foundation for the so-called “Doctrine of Discovery.” It is the moral-legal principle that undergirded the programmatic dispossession, subjugation, enslavement, and murder of indigenous peoples.
6. The #DoctrineofDiscovery also paved the way for the dispossession and enslavement of Africans in the New World. Its moral legacy endures to this day. These were grievous abuses of ecclesiastical authority for which the Church has yet to acknowledge adequately.
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