Published on Mar 10, 2017
Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe L. Goudy gives joint proclamation with the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the "doctrine of discovery."
http://www.ailanyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Holy-See.pdf Statement by Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See
Economic and Social Council, 9th session of the Permanent Forum on
On Agenda Item 7: Discussion on the reports
“Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal construct
known as the Doctrine
of Discovery, which has served as the Foundation of the Violation of
their Human Rights”
and “Indigenous Peoples and boarding Schools: A Comparative Study”
New York, 27 April 2010
My delegation takes this opportunity to reply to some of the
concerns made today.
Regarding the question of the doctrine of discovery and the role of the
Papal Bull Inter Coetera, the Holy See notes that Inter
Coetera, a s a source
of International Law, the division of lands between
and Portugal was first of all abrogated by the Treaty of
Tordesillas in 1494
and that Circumstances have changed so much that; to attribute any
juridical value to such a document seems completely out of place.
Similarly, as a source of Canon or Church Law, since the document had
called for excommunication latae sententiae those who do not respect its
dispositions, Inter Coetera has also been abrogated by the
facts, first and
foremost by the unsanctioned immediate expansion of the territory of
Brazil to the west well beyond the Treaty of Tordesillas and by the
colonization of North America and the Caribbean by the King of France.
In addition, It was also abrogated by other Papal bulls, for example
Sublimis Deus in 1537 which states, “Indians and all other people who
may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be
their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they
the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and
legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their
should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary
happen, it shall be
null and have no effect.” This view was expanded upon and
Immensa Pastorum of Benedict XIV of 20 December 1741 and a number
of other Papal Encyclicals, statements and decrees.
If any doubt remains, it is abrogated by Canon 6 of the Code
of Canon Law
of 1983 which abrogates in general all preceding penal and disciplinary
As you may gather from the above, this abrogation process took
the centuries according to the legal maxim: Lex posterior
i.e. a subsequent law imports the abolition of a previous one.
International Law and for the Catholic Church Law, the bull
is a historic remnant with no juridical, moral or doctrinal value.
Further, the doctrine of the temporal power of the papacy,
upon which Inter
Coetera rests, was finally overturned by the Second Vatican Council:
Finally, the doctrine of forced conversion of non-Christians
and changed by the Junta Teologica de Valladolid (1550-1551), not long
after the bull of Alexander VI, and was also condemned by Vatican II.
Further, the assertion that wars of conquest are justifiable in order to
convert non-Christians was completely overturned by the documents of the
second Vatican Council (see above) and by the general condemnations of
The fact that juridical systems may employ the “Doctrine of
a juridical precedent is therefore now a characteristic of the
laws of those
states and is independent of the fact that for the Church the
had no value whatsoever for centuries. The refutation of this
therefore now under the competence of national authorities, legislators,
lawyers and legal historians.
Regarding the concerns raised against the educational programs of the
Church and its boarding schools in different parts of the world, my
delegation would like to clarify that the ultimate objective
of the church
was to offer the indigenous population improved education. Most of the
leaders of such communities were formed in such education
centers and are
grateful for the services that received from the Church.
Education is the key
to development, especially when different models of development are
imposed without respect for the indigenous culture and identity.
The Holy See recognizes the right of the indigenous peoples
for development and their traditional beliefs. For the shortcomings and
mistakes the Church has sought always means of dialogue and
reconciliation. Last year, for example, when Pope Benedict XVI received
the representatives of the First Nation is Canada, this issue
In addition, in a number of meetings and discussions with Indigenous
peoples from around the world, Pope John Paul II also
reiterated the Holy
See’s support for the rights of indigenous people while
asking forgiveness for past mistakes by missionaries.
With this explanation, I hope the following becomes clear: 1)
The Holy See
confirms that Inter Coetera has already been abrogated and considers it
without any legal or doctrinal value; 2) The Holy See, in
Catholic social teaching, is consistently paying particular
attention to the
relationship of indigenous peoples to their lands and
resources; 3) The Holy
See, as demonstrated also by our support for the recent
Declaration of the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples, will continue to be an outspoken
in support of the dignity and rights of indigenous peoples.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.