God is Red

heartPope Benedict XVI will meet with Canadian aboriginal leaders at the Vatican later this month to finally express regret for the abuse suffered at Canadian Indian residential schools.

Here the Catholic Church has a wonderful opportunity to not only express regret for past transgressions, though this is a critical step toward the healing process, but to also put into practice the ideals expressed in its wonderful 1991 document Dialogue and Proclamation by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue:

“While keeping their identity intact, Christians must be prepared to learn and to receive from and through others the positive values of their traditions. Through dialogue they may be moved to give up ingrained prejudices, to revise preconceived ideas, and even sometimes to allow the understanding of their faith to be purified.” (49)

Assembly of Nations chief Phil Fontaine hopes that the Church’s olive branch will also help build the relationship between the Catholic Church and First Nations people.

Authentic inculturation takes root and flourishes when a spirit of openness, humility and friendship prevails between divergent cultures. Native North American tribal culture and spirituality has much to offer opposing Christian cultures that, at various times throughout history, have attempted to crush and convert their native counterparts.

Only when cultures engage in a spirit of honest dialogue and are truly willing to learn, listen and share the best of what each has to offer the other, will hope for a mutually beneficial inculturation ensue. To do less would defer the dream of a peaceful, environmentally sustainable world and unjustly burden future generations to come.

Photo Credit: WolfSoul’s Photostream

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