Pope Apologizes for Sins, Offenses of Church

Pope Apologizes for Sins, Offenses of ChurchPope Apologizes for Sins, Offenses of Church

Pope Francis on Thursday apologized for the “sins and offenses” committed by the Catholic Church against indigenous people during the colonial-era conquest of the Americas.

History’s first Latin American pope asked for forgiveness on Thursday during an encounter in Bolivia with indigenous groups and other activists and in the presence of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, AP reported.

Francis noted that Latin American church leaders in the past had acknowledged “grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God.”

St. John Paul II had issued a sweeping apology in 2000 for the sins of the church in the past and in 2001 sent an email apologizing for missionary abuses against the aborigines of Oceania.

But Francis went further and directed his apology to the indigenous peoples of his home continent.

“I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”

Pope called for changes in a world economic order that he says only follows the logic of profits and excludes many people and also destroys the environment.

The pontiff also urged an end to what he described as “genocide” of Christians taking place in the Middle East. The pontiff was visiting Bolivia as part of a pilgrimage across his native South America.

“In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”