03
May
07

The Vatican and Indigenous Cultural Revival

On May 2, 2007, Guzmán Carriquiry Lecour, who is the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, spoke with the Italian magazine Il Consulente Re (http://www.ilconsulentere.it/) about the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held in Brazil later this month.Carriquiry dismissed indigenous cultures from playing any role in fomenting Latin American unity, noting that “The great symbols of Latin American unity are not indigenous ones because, before the arrival of the Spaniards and Portuguese, the continent was totally fragmented — a Babel — without the slightest awareness of itself.” He added that the “true symbols of unity are Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Christ of the Andes, the Church as the sacrament of unity among our peoples in Catholicism.” Originality is to be found in the Gospel, he argues: “The Gospel incarnated in the peoples is the deepest element of the historical-cultural originality that we call Latin America.”

While not entirely dismissing indigenous peoples, and proclaiming that they deserve respect, such respect does not extend to indigenous cultural practices: “another matter altogether is trying to rekindle sorcerers, shamans, ancient indigenous cosmogonies — the attempt of an arbitrary archaism, stemming more from ideological manipulation than from a true answer to the needs and demands of indigenous communities.”

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