Around 30 of Mexico’s indigenous communities in Michoacan, Mexico, have released a statement demanding the pope apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for killing 24 million aboriginal inhabitants during the American colonization.
The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan, Mexico, has accused the church of being involved in mass genocide with the arrival of Spaniards in Central America in the 16th century. The statement by the council noted that by the beginning of the 1800s, less than 700,000 native inhabitants survived from an original population of 25.2 million, making the Spanish intervention and the colonial-era conquest of the Americas, one of the largest acts of genocide.
"For over 500 years, the original people of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted," the council statement reads. "Within this framework, the Catholic Church has historically been complicit and allies of those who invaded our land."
Read More: Pope Francis Called For A Global Day Of Fasting And Prayer For Peace In Syria (VIDEO)
The communities also laid stress on the colonizers’ abuse including forcing European culture, Catholicism and language on the natives and wielding the Bible as an “ideological weapon.” Various Purepechas communities from Michoacan demanded Pope Francis issue an apology for the genocide of almost 95% of the aboriginal inhabitants of Central America within a century, following the start of the European invasion.
"The arrival of the Europeans meant the interruption and destruction of various original civilizations, which had their unique ideas and concepts of the world, our own government, writings, languages, education, religion and philosophy," they said.
During his visit to Mexico this week, the pontiff will issue a decree authorizing the use of indigenous language in mass celebrations. The controversial motion will be made to protect the rights of the surviving natives of the country.
#Vatican spokesman says Pope Francis means to give blessing to use of indigenous languages at Catholic masses in Mexico— Joshua McElwee (@joshjmac) February 5, 2016
In 2015, Pope Francis offered a direct apology for the “offenses” committed in the name of the Catholic Church against the Bolivian indigenous people during the invasion of the continent.
Pope Francis Apologizes to Indigenous Americans in Bolivia for “Grave Sins” Committed by Church https://t.co/b4HuLpcnZI— AshMRichter (@AshMRichter) December 13, 2015