“[T]o all human beings throughout the ages God has given a desire for himself, a desire which different cultures have tried to express in their own ways.

(…)

But for thousands of years you [the Aborigenes] have lived in this land and fashioned a culture that endures to this day. And during all this time, the Spirit of God has been with you. Your “Dreaming”, which influences your lives so strongly that, no matter what happens, you remain for ever people of your culture, is your only way of touching the mystery of God’s Spirit in you and in creation. You must keep your striving for God and hold on to it in your lives.

(…)

Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost.

(…)

For thousands of years this culture of yours was free to grow without interference by people from other places. You lived your lives in spiritual closeness to the land, with its animals, birds, fishes, waterholes, rivers, hills and mountains. Through your closeness to the land you touched the sacredness of man’s relationship with God, for the land was the proof of a power in life greater than yourselves.You did not spoil the land, use it up, exhaust it. and then walk away from it. You realized that your land was related to the source of life.

(…)

Some of the stories from your Dreamtime legends speak powerfully of the great mysteries of human life, its frailty, its need for help, its closeness to spiritual powers and the value of the human person. They are not unlike some of the great inspired lessons from the people among whom Jesus himself was born. It is wonderful to see how people, as they accept the Gospei of Jesus, find points of agreement between their own traditions and those of Jesus and his people.

(…)

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ speaks all languages. It esteems and embraces all cultures. It supports them in everything human and, when necessary, it purifies them. Always and everywhere the Gospel uplifts and enriches cultures with the revealed message of a loving and merciful God.That Gospel now invites you to become, through and through, Aboriginal Christians. It meets your deepest desires. You do not have to be people divided into two parts, as though an Aboriginal had to borrow the faith and life of Christianity, like a hat or a pair of shoes, from someone else who owns them. Jesus calls you to accept his words and his values into your own culture. To develop in this way will make you more than ever truly Aboriginal.”

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Pope St. John Paul II

Address to the Aborígenes and Torres Strait Islanders

in “Blatherskite Park”

Austrália, Nov 29th, 1986

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Jessica says:

    Wow! I wish I’d heard this quote back when I was studying anthopology. I might have converted a couple classmates!

  2. Avatar George XY Palantine says:

    Yes, and look at the difference. He did not urge them to bow down to pagan idols that they could call Mary if they so desired. He did not tell them that they needed to tell the church what to do. In fact, all he said was that God was with them, even in the darkness of their paganism. He did not tell us that they should retain their pagan ways and just add in a little sign of the cross and that would be enought.

    “That Gospel now invites you to become, through and through, Aboriginal Christians.”

    The Gospel invites them to become CHRISTIANS. Not to remain wedded to their pagan gods in syncretism.

    JP II had it exactly right, and Pope Francis has it exactly wrong

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      It’s not a pagan idol, it is not a pagan goddess and it is not syncretism. Therefore, if JP2 got it right, so did Francis. The only people who got it wrong are the ones who keep insisting, against all evidence, that this is pagan.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      George,

      Our Lady of the Amazon is a not “pagan idol.” She is not a “pagan goddess.” She is a representation of Our Blessed Mother.

      Pope Francis does invite non-Christians to become Christians. He also literally baptizes people who are converting from other religions (such as Islam) into the Church. He may not always evangelize in *exactly the same ways, using the exact same words*, that you personally would, but that does not mean, at all, that he is some kind of syncretistic heretic who wants to undermine the faith. Pope Francis is perhaps the most visible Christian evangelizer in the world at this point, and he has written and spoken at great length on the importance of evangelization. If you doubt, or dispute, the reality of what I’m claiming here, then please, spend some time with this Church document, written by Francis: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html

      George, I recently replied to you on another thread here at WPI, but I don’t know if you saw what I wrote. You didn’t reply, so I’ll copy and paste it here just in case:

      Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is very well-loved (and, seemingly, at least somewhat misread?) by many highly vocal critics of Pope Francis, has just publicly (re)affirmed his support of Francis. Sarah has also stated that anyone who tries to pit him against Francis is doing the work of Satan in trying to divide the Church. Moreover, the Cardinal has stated that to oppose the Pope is to be outside of the Church.

      What do you think of Sarah’s words here, George? Is Cardinal Sarah somehow unable to see the supposed problems with Francis that you claim are so easy for honest, clear-eyed, non-deluded Catholics to see? https://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2019/cardinal-sarah-to-oppose-the-pope-is-to-be-outside-the-church.cfm

      The Nigerian bishops also recently issued a public statement of support for, and loyalty to, Pope Francis. Those terrible, heterodox, “Catholic” liberals– the Nigerian Catholic Bishops and Cardinal Robert Sarah!– and their support of Pope Francis! What shall we do with them? Speaking for myself, I’ll happily support them and the Pope! https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2019-09/nigerian-bishops-decry-attacks-on-pope-francis.html

  3. Avatar Marie says:

    This is beautiful, thank you Pedro. I remember when Pope St. John Paul II went to Papua New Guinea and feeling such a sense of pride in being a Catholic and knowing the world was so blessed to have such a pope.

  4. Avatar jong says:

    St.JP2 words will not be pleasing to the ear of the schismatic Rad Trads as they want the Abroginals to conform to the image they perceived as pleasing to God. Just like their insistence to celebrate only Latin Masses, they perceived it as the only true worship and the Novus Ordo was not. St.JP2 words was very clear, God loves the indigenous people and will meet them in their embraced culture but will purify it for their spiritual growth but not abandoning it.
    The “naked statue” of the Our Lady of the Amazon is a testament that the Holy Spirit is guiding Pope Francis in all his ways by allowing the Rad Trads to expressed their attacks as they were already accustom to imitate the Great Accuser and then later their own pride & arrogance will humiliate them with their false assertions & accusations. But the unfortunate things is, none of them will accept that they are wrong and will still find a way to further attack with falsehood. This is what we called “diabolical disorientation”, they embraced the evil attitude of accusing the Church Hierarchy and no Truth can help them change their way of thinking. The falsehood & lies that they embraced becomes their truth. how can this be heal? Pope Francis implore all of them to seek conversion and lived a life of silence. Satan hates “silence”, because it is only thru silence can we hear the voice of God and help us see the falsehood & lies that satan had poisoned us.

  5. Avatar Chris dorf says:

    Excellent….it’s interesting how difficult this is for Evangelical Christians and Baptist fundamentalist to accept without thinking it’s heresy. I know this firsthand because I’ve been trying to explain this in eccumenical men’s prayer groups anf to family members who left the Catholic faith, for 30 years

  6. Avatar Chris dorf says:

    Peter’s Speech.*
    34
    Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,* “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.j
    35
    Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.

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