Ottawa (Agenzia Fides) - An "appeal to all our Catholic brothers and sisters" to walk together with Canadian Indigenous Peoples in building a more just society where their gifts and those of all people are nurtured and honoured" was launched by the four major Catholic organizations in Canada: the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Two documents were issued, both with the date of March 19, 2016, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, main patron of Canada, in response to Call to Action 48 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to questions on the legal concepts known as "Doctrine of Discovery" and "terra nullius".
In the first of two texts, the Catholic signatories express support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as "a way forward to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada" .
The second of the two Catholic documents "considers and repudiates illegitimate concepts and principles used by Europeans to justify the seizure of land previously held by Indigenous Peoples and often identified by the terms Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius".
The signatories say: "now is an appropriate time to issue a public statement in response to the errors and falsehoods perpetuated, often by Christians, during and following the so-called Age of Discovery".
After outlining the principles which reject how these legal constructs have been used to disenfranchise Indigenous Peoples, the signatories again affirm the eight commitments made in their first document. An appendix provides an historical overview of the development of the two legal concepts vis-a-vis Catholic teaching and of their repudiation. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 31/03/2016)