...oh, wait. That's wrong.
The Episcopal Church is apologizing to American Indians for "invading" America and exposing the natives to Christianity.
Episcopalians from around the country gathered here this week for their church's 77th triennial General Convention, which ended Thursday. Although other Protestant denominations have national governing councils, the Episcopal Church's triennial gathering stands apart. For starters, it's one of the world's largest such legislative entities, with more than 1,000 members.
General Convention is also notable for its sheer ostentation and carnival atmosphere. For seven straight nights, lavish cocktail parties spilled into pricey steakhouses, where bishops could use their diocesan funds to order bottles of the finest wines.
During the day, legislators in the lower chamber, the House of Deputies, and the upper chamber, the House of Bishops, discussed such weighty topics as whether to develop funeral rites for dogs and cats, and whether to ratify resolutions condemning genetically modified foods. Both were approved by a vote, along with a resolution to "dismantle the effects of the doctrine of discovery," in effect an apology to Native Americans for exposing them to Christianity.
Here is the Episcopal lament over the "Doctrine of Discovery" (which is from their 2009 General Convention an dnot from the current convention):
“In an unprecedented step of significance for Christian response to the European invasion and settlement of the Americas, the Episcopal Church is the first Christian denomination to publically repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery through the actions of D033 taken at GC 2009,” explained Eagle Heart. “The Church demonstrated the courage of our convened leadership by offering the repudiation in 2009, and now in 2012 calls upon and invites all Episcopalians to join in a substantive response to the Doctrine of Discovery through participation in this lament to acknowledge, honor and respond compassionately to our grievous past of invasion and settlement.”
Here is the Episcopal Resolution on the Doctrine of Discovery.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention repudiates and renounces the Doctrine of Discovery as fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our understanding of the inherent rights that individuals and peoples have received from God, and that this declaration be proclaimed among our churches and shared with the United Nations and all the nations and peoples located within The Episcopal Church's boundaries. This doctrine, which originated with Henry VII in 1496, held that Christian sovereigns and their representative explorers could assert dominion and title over non-Christian lands with the full blessing and sanction of the Church. It continues to be invoked, in only slightly modified form, in court cases and in the many destructive policies of governments and other institutions of the modern nation-state that lead to the colonizing dispossession of the lands of indigenous peoples and the disruption of their way of life ...
The replacment appears to be syncretizing prayers to the "Great Spirit" and to the Four Directions.
In their puppy-dog desire to be loved, the Episcopal Church has managed to equate the "White Buffalo Woman" with Our Lady of Guadalupe, i.e., the Mother of God:
The Virgin of Guadalupe
[Note: Although it is not on the Liturgical Calendar of the Episcopal Church, December 12 is still widely celebrated by many Episcopalians as the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe.]
When did the Episcopal Church recognize the Our Lady of Guadulupe as authentic?
Notice that for these Gaia-worshipping feminist liberal Christians, Our Lady of Guadulupe is simply the "Virgin of Guadulupe" and all connection with the reason that makes her "Our Lady," namely that she is the mother of Jesus Christ, is forgotten in order, it seems, to make Mary as legendary and non-historical as "White Buffalo Woman."
As a member of the Church that does put the Feast of Our Lady on its calendar, I'd appreciate it if the Episcopal Church would bloody well not dechristianize our beliefs now that it has managed to bleed its own beliefs of any Christian meaning.
Then there is this Episcopal document, which suggests that the Episcopal Church views the whole project of America as something of dubious provenance and doubtful legitimacy:
The national commemoration of Columbus Day poses a painful problem for many American Episcopalians. The public legal and religious reasoning and language used to explain and justify the discovery and conquest of the Americas, stands in glaring contrast to the vows of the Baptismal Covenant “to persevere in resisting evil, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself and to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”
Looking at Columbus Day through the Lens of the Baptismal vows is no simple matter. It is not something to be quickly addressed, and then left behind.
This journey into “Exposing the Doctrine of Discovery” is part of a call from God to Healing and Hope for all people. With Resolution D035 offered at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2009, the Church repudiated and renounced the Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine of Discovery refers to documents, and practices of Church and state that legally justified the theft of Native lands, genocide, denial of basic human rights and self-determination, and the attempted extermination of Native identity.
General Convention took this step of repudiation because even though 1492 was a very long time ago, the reasoning and language used to explain and justify the discovery and conquest of the Americas, stands in glaring contrast to our Baptismal vows. The Doctrine of Discovery continues to be invoked in contemporary legal practice, and contributes to the on-going
oppression of Native Peoples. The on-going impact of the Doctrine of Discovery can be seen in and attributed to the failure of state and federal governments to fulfill the promises made in 400 still legally binding treaties, negotiated in exchange for the land on which most Americans now live. These treaties – are “the supreme Law of the Land” according to the
Constitution of the United States – purported to buy the land that is now the United States, from Native tribes with promises to provide for monetary payments, continued hunting and fishing rights, and provisions for housing and health care.2 Few, if any of these treaties, were fulfilled as promised.
Look at the scare quotes for the description of the Constitution as "the supreme Law of the Land."
Are the Episcopalians saying it isn't?
The Episcopal Church wants its members to view the founding event with shame. How can any people hope ot survive that way?
Ross Douthat asks whether "Liberal Christianity can survive?"
The answer would appear to be, not if it doesn't stop committing suicide.
By the way, the original resolution made a fashionable stab at blaming Catholicism for the "Doctrine of Discovery," but this is only part of the story. The whole story includes the fact that the Catholic Church attempted to protect the rights of indigenous populations as human beings.
Discovery was happening. The normal course of human history involves the wholesale enslavement of the weaker populations. Something unique happened when Christians ran up against that situation - their church demanded that they treat the weaker population like human beings and not enslave them.
Here is the text of the Papal Encyclical Sicut Dudem:
Eugene, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God,
To our venerable brothers, peace and apostolic benediction, etcetera.
1. Not long ago, we learned from our brother Ferdinand, bishop at Rubicon and representative of the faithful who are residents of the Canary Islands, and from messengers sent by them to the Apostolic See, and from other trustworthy informers, the following facts: in the said islands—some called Lanzarote—and other nearby islands, the inhabitants, imitating the natural law alone, and not having known previously any sect of apostates or heretics, have a short time since been led into the Orthodox Catholic Faith with the aid of God’s mercy. Nevertheless, with the passage of time, it has happened that in some of the said islands, because of a lack of suitable governors and defenders to direct those who live there to a proper observance of the Faith in things spiritual and temporal, and to protect valiantly their property and goods, some Christians (we speak of this with sorrow), with fictitious reasoning and seizing and opportunity, have approached said islands by ship, and with armed forces taken captive and even carried off to lands overseas very many persons of both sexes, taking advantage of their simplicity.
2. Some of these people were already baptized; others were even at times tricked and deceived by the promise of Baptism, having been made a promise of safety that was not kept. They have deprived the natives of the property, or turned it to their own use, and have subjected some of the inhabitants of said islands to perpetual slavery, sold them to other persons, and committed other various illicit and evil deeds against them, because of which very many of those remaining on said islands, and condemning such slavery, have remained involved in their former errors, having drawn back their intention to receive Baptism, thus offending the majesty of God, putting their souls in danger, and causing no little harm to the Christian religion
3. Therefore, We, to whom it pertains, especially in respect to the aforesaid matters, to rebuke each sinner about his sin, and not wishing to pass by dissimulating, and desiring—as is expected from the pastoral office we hold—as far as possible, to provide salutarily, with a holy and fatherly concern, for the sufferings of the inhabitants, beseech the Lord, and exhort, through the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ shed for their sins, one and all, temporal princes, lords, captains, armed men, barons, soldiers, nobles, communities, and all others of every kind among the Christian faithful of whatever state, grade, or condition, that they themselves desist from the aforementioned deeds, cause those subject to them to desist from them, and restrain them rigorously.
4. And no less do We order and command all and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of said Canary Islands, and made captives since the time of their capture, and who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free, and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of money. If this is not done when the fifteen days have passed, they incur the sentence of excommunication by the act itself, from which they cannot be absolved, except at the point of death, even by the Holy See, or by any Spanish bishop, or by the aforementioned Ferdinand, unless they have first given freedom to these captive persons and restored their goods. We will that like sentence of excommunication be incurred by one and all who attempt to capture, sell, or subject to slavery, baptized residents of the Canary Islands, or those who are freely seeking Baptism, from which excommunication cannot be absolved except as was stated above.
5. Those who humbly and efficaciously obey these, our exhortations and commands deserve, in addition to our favor, and that of the Apostolic See, and the blessings which follow there from, but are to be possessors of eternal happiness and to be placed at the right hand of God, etcetera
Given at Florence, January 13th, in the Year of Our Lord, 1435
And here is Sublimis Dei:
Pope Paul III (Topic: the enslavement and evangelization of Indians)
To all faithful Christians to whom this writing may come, health in Christ our Lord and the apostolic benediction.
The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Christ, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office 'Go ye and teach all nations.' He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith.
The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God's word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.
We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.
By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, which shall thus command the same obedience as the originals, that the said Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living.
[Dated: May 29, 1537]
Christians did enslave and slaughter, but it was despite Christianity.