to put the economy at the service of people. Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.
They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less. They want their culture, their language, their social processes and their religious traditions to be respected. No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty.
Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result.... We cannot allow certain interests — interests which are global but not universal — to take over, to dominate states and international organizations and to continue destroying creation.
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.
To our brothers and sisters in the …Indigenous movement, allow me to express my deep affection and appreciation of their efforts to bring people and cultures together... in a form of coexistence … where each group preserves its own identify by building together a plurality which does not threaten but rather reinforces unity. Your quest for an interculturalism, which combines the defense of the rights of the native peoples with respect for the territorial integrity of states, is for all of us a source of enrichment and encouragement.
I never thought I would hear these words in my lifetime. It was extraordinary. I know many will say that these are only words and that there is still much work ahead such as rejecting the Papal Bull along with the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius. This is true, but the Pope’s words are a first step. His words were not just read off a piece of paper. They seemed genuine. Let’s embrace the hope. Let’s move with the passion and hope he comes to Canada to meet with the same people he met with in Rome — the grassroots, the poor, the people on the front lines, and those affected the most by the colonialism he asks forgiveness for.
a cry for lost land;
a cry for the extraction of wealth from land that paradoxically does not produce wealth for the local populations who remain poor;
a cry of pain in reaction to violence, threats and corruption;
a cry of indignation and for help for the violations of human rights, blatantly or discreetly trampled with regard to the health of populations, working conditions, and at times the slavery and human trafficking that feeds the tragic phenomenon of prostitution;
a cry of sadness and impotence for the contamination of the water, the air and the land;
a cry of incomprehension for the absence for inclusive processes or support from the civil, local and national authorities, which have the fundamental duty to promote the common good.
A contribution can be made by the governments of the countries of origin of multinational companies and those in which they operate, businesses and investors, the local authorities who supervise mining operations, workers and their representatives, the international supply chains with their various intermediaries and those who work in the markets of these materials, and the consumers of goods for whose production the minerals are required. All these people are called upon to adopt behaviour inspired by the fact that we constitute a single human family, that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.
The unity it called for and committed to was inspiring. They said when something goes down in one country, they will all stand up. They also said that they must turn to Indigenous Peoples to learn how to take care of Mother Earth….
The consciousness of my generation was born as wave after wave descended into the hell of exclusion. We saw our fathers lose their employment and never get another job. We saw our mothers go out to look for chicken carcasses in the shops to fill the cooking pot. We saw the plague of drugs, depression and alcoholism destroy families and damage lives until this became part of the landscape. Those living in the shantytowns and working class neighbourhoods suffered these things in their own flesh — or in the flesh of their brothers who, frightened to death by their own “insecurity,” watched from the barred windows of their middle class homes as people rummaged in garbage cans in search of scraps of food.