Reuters reported yesterday that the Pope had claimed that the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere "welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were 'silently longing' for Christianity." Naturally, Indian leaders in Brazil were pissed off at the arrogance of such a statement.
As the article pointed out,
Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church since Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, through slaughter, disease or enslavement.In my view, claiming that people who have another religion imposed on them by force are "silently longing" for it is kind of like saying that a rape victim was really asking for it. But hey, that's just me.
Maybe when you spent much of your professional career rooting out heresy, as the current Pope did before he got his current gig, then the idea there is only One True Religion (your own, of course) becomes so ingrained in your thinking that respect for other peoples, their religious backgrounds, and their autonomy just sort of eludes you. On the other hand, maybe the current Pope is just a dufus. It's hard to know.