Today marks two years of consistent weekly posts on the Catholic Church in contemporary society. I thank Chi dị ebere for wisdom and strength🙏🏾.
Last week’s post examined the encyclical Lacrimabili Statu Indorum (the deplorable situation of the Indians), issued by Pope Pius X on 7 June 1912, which he addressed to the bishops of Latin America on the Indians of South America. The encyclical condemned the crimes against the Indians. The year 2012 marked the centenary of the encyclical, and the Church in Columbia organised a meeting to commemorate the anniversary from 18 to 20 September 2012. On 7 June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a message to the President of the Columbian Bishops’ Conference and, by extension, the entire Church there. Today’s post reports this message.
The pope begins by recalling the encyclical and its predecessor, Immensa Pastorum.
“I was delighted to know that the celebration of the Encyclical Letter Lacrimabili Statu Indorum is planned to take place this year in Colombia. It was signed on 7 June 1912 by my Predecessor, St Pius X, and on this happy occasion, I have the pleasure of sending to you and to all the particular Churches of this beloved nation my cordial greeting in the Lord. In continuity with the Encyclical Letter Immensa Pastorum by Benedict XIV, the above-mentioned document emphasised the need to work harder for the evangelisation of the indigenous peoples and the constant advancement of their dignity and progress”.
The pope explains what the commemoration means for the Church.
“The commemoration of that Magisterium is an extraordinary opportunity offered to us to continue to deepen the pastoral care of these indigenous peoples and not to stop interpreting every human situation in order to imbue it with the power of the Gospel (cf. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 20). Indeed, the Church does not consider any legitimate human aspiration irrelevant, and makes her own the most noble goals of these peoples that are all too often marginalised or misunderstood and whose dignity is no less than that of any other person, since every man and every woman has been created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27)”.
The pope emphasises that such crimes against the Indians should not be associated with Christians.
“Moreover, Jesus Christ, who always showed his special concern for the poor and the abandoned, tells us that all that we do or stop doing, as we “to one of the least of these my brethren” (Mt 25:40). we did it to him. No one, therefore, who boasts of the name “Christian” can fail to show concern for his neighbour or belittle him for reasons of language, race or culture. In this regard, the Apostle Paul himself sheds the proper light on it for us, when he says: “by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free” (1 Cor 12:13)”.
The pope encourages those fighting the exploitation of the Indians.
“With strong sentiments of closeness to those peoples, I willingly join all those who, encouraged by the Messages of my Predecessors on the Chair of St Peter, are carrying ahead praiseworthy work on their behalf, as they joyfully see the grace that they share with them every day and courageously engage to continue to guide them, in order to build a luminous and promising future for everyone”.
The pope encourages the evangelisation of the Indians.
“I would like to urge everyone to consider this event as a favourable moment for giving a new impulse to the proclamation of the Gospel among these beloved brethren of ours, fostering their spirit of mutual understanding, of service in solidarity and of reciprocal respect. In opening themselves to Christ they do not suffer any damage to their innate virtues and qualities; on the contrary, the redeeming action invigorates and strengthens them. May they find in his divine Heart a living source of hope, the strength and tenacity to confront the challenges they must face, consolation amidst their difficulties and the inspiration to identify ways to surmount and edify on the way they are called to take”.
The pope also emphasises that evangelisation should respect their culture.
The pope exhorts against their exploitation.
“I implore the Almighty first of all to protect the sacred character of their life. May their existence not be restricted for any reason, for God does not want anyone’s death and commands us to love each other as brothers and sisters. May their lands be properly protected. May no one, for any reason, exploit or manipulate these peoples and may these peoples never let themselves be lured by ideologies into their dangerous grip”.
May God continue to help us🙏🏾