The Vatican has rejected the Doctrine of Discovery a year after Pope Francis met with Indigenous groups from Canada and delivered his first apology for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.
A statement from the Vatican says the papal bulls, or decrees, “did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples.”
The 15th-century doctrine was connected to the idea that lands being colonized were empty, when in fact Indigenous people had long called them home.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says in a statement it is grateful for the move Indigenous organizations had been urging.
A year ago First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups went to Rome to meet with Pope Francis and many told him the doctrine must be rejected.
The pontiff travelled to Canada in July for a six-day tour, during which he apologized repeatedly but was criticized for not addressing the papal bulls.