The Vatican has recently made a significant statement against the exploitation of lands and historical forced assimilation of native peoples. The statement addresses the "Doctrine of Discovery," a colonial-era principle that allowed European powers to claim lands belonging to indigenous peoples. In the document, the Holy See states that taking land from original inhabitants has never been part of Church teaching and acknowledges that previous popes could have done more to address the rights of indigenous people. It also clarified that this doctrine has never been part of Church teaching and that missionaries have done a lot to promote and protect the rights of all human beings including indigenous people.
Andreas Thonhauser is EWTN Vatican Bureau Chief. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the WU Executive Academy in Vienna and a Master’s degree in German Philology/Anglistics and Americanistics from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining EWTN, Thonhauser worked as the Director of External Affairs for a global human rights organization, and for several media outlets in Vienna, Austria.