Facing strong criticism after saying in Brazil that Christianity was not forced upon the indigenous people of the Americas, Pope Benedict XVI has admitted to “shadows that accompanied the work of evangelization” in Latin America.
“It is impossible to forget the sufferings and injustices inflicted by colonizers on the indigenous peoples, who often had their basic human rights trampled on,” said Benedict during his weekly public audience May 23 at the Vatican.
“But the very mention of these unjustifiable crimes . . . must not stop us from expressing gratitude for the wonderful work carried out by divine grace among those populations in these past five centuries,” he said, noting also that Christian missionaries and theologians had defended indigenous people.