The Church’s Genocidal “Requerimiento” May 8, 2015Posted by rogerhollander in First Nations, Genocide, History, Human Rights, Imperialism, Religion.
Tags: catholic, conquistadores, eduardo galeano, First Nations, genocide, haiti, history, religion, requerimiento, roger hollander, roman catholic
Roger’s note: I am no great fan of the Roman Catholic Church, past, present, and (presumably) future, albeit I acknowledge that there have been and are some notable exceptions to the murderous conservative institutional church: the Maryknolls, Bishop Romero, worker priests, etc. Nonetheless, the genocidal crimes of the church, particularly in the third world, are as impossible to reconcile with the philosophy of the biblical Jesus as they are to forgive.
I first became aware of the notorious Requerimiento reading James Michner’s novel on the history of Texas, where it was used against the southwest indigenous tribes. As a marriage of hypocrisy with homicide the concept knows no equal. If genuine decent Roman Catholic members can reconcile these acts with their faith, so be it. As for me, we have enough contemporary examples of the Church’s ethical putrefaction — from the tacit support of Hitler’s Nazis to the thousands of women condemned to botched abortions — there remains ample evidence of its moral decadence.
The following is from Eduardo Galeano’s notes on Haiti:
Three years after the discovery, Columbus personally directed the military campaign against the natives of Haiti, which he called Española.
A handful of cavalry, 200 foot soldiers, and a few specially trained dogs decimated the Indians. More than 500, shipped to Spain, were sold as slaves in Seville and died miserably. Some theologians protested and the enslavement of Indians was formally banned at the beginning of the 16th century.
Actually it was not banned but blessed: before each military action the captains of the conquest were required to read to the Indians, without an interpreter but before a notary public, a long and rhetorical Requerimiento exhorting them to adopt the holy Catholic faith: “If you do not, or if you maliciously delay in so doing, I certify that with God’s help I will advance powerfully against you and make war on you wherever and however I am able, and will subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their majesties and take your women and children to be slaves, and as such I will sell and dispose of them as their majesties may order, and I will take your possessions and do you all the harm and damage that I can.”