Pope Francis affirms genocide of first nations by Canada and Catholic schools

indigenous people


It has taken 500 years for the fallacies of the European ‘Age of Discovery’ in the New World to finally become more truthfully revealed for its true genocidal history towards First Nation peoples and their cultures. This truth has now been affirmed by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, during his recent pilgrimage to Canada to formally apologize for the genocidal practices of the Catholic Residential School System in Canada, the United States and indeed throughout the New World in North-South America, Australia and the South Pacific.

For over 500 hundred years, hordes of White Male European military conquerors and their counterparts among the legions of geo-political politicians, Christian missionaries, explorers, priests, nuns, evangelicals, scientists, academic-scientific scholars, editorial wordsmiths and the like have gone to great lengths to try to morally and legally justify their historic genocidal rape, pillage and rampage of the New World’s humans and non-humans throughout the once indigenously-named continents of Turtle Island, Ixachitlan, Gondwanaland and Abya Yala that now make up the continents of Australia, North-South America, and the South Pacific.

Nothing since has changed for the better. Especially now in 2022 with the current world war raging in Ukraine that continues to threaten the entire world with the real possibility of a: nuclear war; mass extinction; massive food shortages; global famine and financial collapse; that further exacerbates the unabated and mounting climate crisis, caused by out-of-control global fossil fuel extraction policies, insane exponential population growth and skies-the-limits in industrial-financial expansion that only continue to soar ever higher.

At every turn since, these original Old World male conquerors, and all their male or female proponents and descendants today who still religiously-follow in their footsteps, morally-spiritually-ideologically-politically-militarily, have sought, through all manner of wars, since day one of their ancestral so-called ‘discovery’ of the New World, to rationally continue to justify and explain before their Gods and whatever of their own collective nagging consciences, untold political, social and cultural reasons why they had to undertake, in the first place, the wholesale conquest and slaughter of the New World’s original peoples, non-human beings and cultures and why they still must continue to unflaggingly pursue the utter theft of whatever existing natural resources of Mother Earth still remain within the evermore threatened traditional lands and waters of all these ancient peoples of the New World.

But if one can entertain for a moment, if not already totally accept, the basic, moral principle, if not the legal premise, that the so-called Age of Discovery and the heinous massive crime against humanity created in its name, that bogus Roman Catholic papal bulls and edicts once were rubber-stamped by so many papal aggressors and their charges against untold countless innocent souls on such a grand scale, representing the loss of so much human-cultural-societal-experiential life, if not the loss of entire human and non-human species of life, then there cannot be, nor ever shall be, any statute of limitations concerning whatever appropriate guilt, punishment, restitution or reconciliation must eventually be deemed necessary to address such a colossal outrage. On a higher moral plane of human existence there can never exist any statute of limitations whatsoever in the international realm of human relations regarding any final decent resolution for such preposterous, outrageously massive crimes committed against all human, non-human beings and Mother Earth herself. The pain and anguish of too many lost souls simply remaiins too great to countenance!

But this is not a new story in the annals of mankind’s history on the earth. Mankind has been doing the same thing to other native peoples and other once sacrosanct lands, ad infinitum, for at least several thousand years before mankind’s latest “discovery” of the New World. The Catholic Church, and their pontiff leaders, for one, have been issuing papal bulls, edicts and the like for centuries to officially give their blessings and license to whatever ruler in the world has ever been willing to pay them the necessary deference and monetary tribute.


This writer, even as a young Irish-Italian Catholic altar boy, the descendant of indigenous Celtic and Tyrolean ancestors who always has felt like a displaced, indigenous person himself, not unlike North America’s native peoples who also, historically, have been vanquished and dispossessed by the ‘White Man’. His own traditional peoples turned into vagrants within even their own native homelands before forced to come to Turtle Island. This one’s ancestors forced to migrate as vagrants to the New World with only what they could carry on their backs, in search of whatever piecemeal work they could find in the coal-silver-gold mines of the 19th and 20th century’s that were then being gouged out of the bowels of North America, not for themselves or their families new-found collective wealth but for the acquisition of personal wealth by still other invading European conqueror-robber barons who sought to further enrich themselves at the expense of countless other Old World dispossessed, vagrants, likewise forced to search for whatever new life could be found for themselves and their off-springs in the New World.

It’s almost nearly eighty years ago now, since that young Irish-Catholic altar boy, turned writer, first found himself being religiously ’indoctrinated’ in Catholic schools, forced to wholly accept, verbatim, literally every teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the dictums of the Pope, as if they were the direct pronouncements of St Peter, Jesus Christ and God himself. He dictated to place at the top of every assignment paper or body of work a requisite “Holy Cross” to ensure it would receive the proper blessing somewhere in the other world.

Yet somehow, intuitively, having learned some random bits of truth about his own indigenous Old World traditions, taught to him by his storyteller father and mother, he already precociously-knew something was seriously remiss in the religious-spiritual teachings of the White Man’s ways around him and its way of life that he was being programmed to believe in and follow.

All the admonitions and dictums that soon followed were simply too harsh, too punitive and dogmatic, too ‘un-Earthlike’, too ‘un-Humanlike’, especially when it came to his intense curiosity about the indigenous peoples he had only ever met or known through the stilted radio and television ‘Cisco Kid’ and ‘Tonto’ images previously known or seen as a youth before finally deciding, as a young adult, to go out-of-his-way to personally witness for himself, first-hand, by living and teaching on Indian reservations in the United States and reserves in Canada.

It was back in the early 1960’s, when not that many White people were yet interested in indigenous peoples or their complex issues and affairs, that he had the great good fortune to get things straight-from-the horses-mouth, as they say, where he was able to meet up with ‘real’ Indian people, elders in particular, some of whom were old enough themselves to harken directly back to the 1870’s and could recount rich, first or second-hand experiential accounts of contacts made with the old cultural and societal life and ways of pre-contact, pre-reservation school systems and those punitive, oppressive indoctrination times, when human beings were free to march to the drumbeat of their own hearts with a minimum of foreign interference. It was a steep learning curve of revelation and revelatory times that eventually led to the writing of the trilogy The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey(www.turtle-island-odyssey.com).


Which brings this discussion 360 degrees back to the recent momentous arrival of Pope Francis, the spiritual head of the universal Roman Catholic Church, to Canada and, in essence, to the entire New and Old World’s, in order to formerly and directly apologize to native peoples for the sad tale of the oppressive religious, societal and cultural indoctrination that First Nations were subjected to by the ‘White Man’ over the past five centuries. Especially for Catholicism’s harsh European religious systems of brain-washing that in untold vile, devious ways through their residential school systems sought to enslave and brutally beat out or breed out of native peoples their inherent ‘Indianness’, hoping to turn them into acceptable facsimiles of ‘White Christian Men & Women,’ rather than what, in more instances than not, otherwise became the twisted, defective versions, and all the  personal pain, anguish, substance abuse and family violence that instead were the result of such unwanted, brutal mind control conditioning.

When the Age of Discovery begun 500 hundred years ago there thus ensued a plethora of Roman Catholic papal bulls, edicts and dictums that sought to explain away, primarily for the sake of the European invaders themselves, exactly how the New World was intended to fit into the Old World’s centuries-long, disastrous, on-going, imperial-religious history.


Following the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile, for more than a century prior to the “discovery” of even more new peoples and lands in the Western seas, had been jockeying for position and possession of colonial territories all along the southern African coast.

On the theory that the Catholic Pontiff was the logical go-to arbitrator between nations, each kingdom had sought and obtained Papal bulls at various times to bolster its claims of possession and ownership, and give them special dispensation for whatever nefarious activities were ever conducted so long as they still served to spread Christianity. As a result, the Catholic papal bull Remanus Pontifex, was decreed by the Catholic pontiff Pope Nicolas V in 1493.

Romanus Pontifex is an important example of the Catholic Papacy’s long-standing claim to spiritual lordship of the whole world and of its self-imposed role in regulating the ‘feeding frenzy’ relations that began among Christian kings and princes, Christians and “unbelievers” (“heathens”, “infidels” and “savages”) has continued ever since. This bull also became the basis for Portugal’s later claim to lands in the “new world” that were later countered in another Catholic papal bull by yet another Catholic pontiff on behalf of yet other avaricious European kings, princes and their dupes.

A brief read of some of the language commonly used at the time in those papal bulls written by Catholic Pope’s, like Pope Nicolas V, in 1493 is instructive of the pompous, delusionary arrogance that native indigenous peoples were forced to face back then and still do in modified, updated corporate versions. Writes Pope Nicholas:

The Roman pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father’s mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them and seeking and desiring the salvation of all, wholesomely ordains and disposes upon careful deliberation those things which he sees will be agreeable to the Divine Majesty and by which he may bring the sheep entrusted to him by God into the single divine fold, and may acquire for them the reward of eternal felicity, and obtain pardon for their souls. This we believe will more certainly come to pass, through the aid of the Lord, if we bestow suitable favors and special graces on those Catholic kings and princes, who, like athletes and intrepid champions of the Christian faith, as we know by the evidence of facts, not only restrain the savage excesses of the Saracens and of other infidels, enemies of the Christian name, but also for the defense and increase of the faith vanquish them and their kingdoms and habitations, though situated in the remotest parts unknown to us, and subject them to their own temporal dominion, sparing no labor and expense, in order that those kings and princes, relieved of all obstacles, may be the more animated to the prosecution of so salutary and laudable a work.


First Nation people want Pope Francis to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery to give them some leverage against the European governments in the New World who have stolen and continue to steal the traditional lands and natural resources that still rightfully belong to them after 500 years but are tied up by foreign legal teams that hide behind the Doctrine to protect their stolen assets.

Yet the Vatican’s Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York continues to assert before the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

The fact that European judicial systems employ the Doctrine of Discovery to their advantage as a juridical precedent is therefore now a characteristic of the laws of those states and is independent of the fact that for the Church the Doctrine of Discovery, as a document, has had no values whatsoever for centuries.

Yet how is this any different than saying, “Well, it’s too late to do anything about it! Now that some dolt has given out the bank vault’s magic number to the crooks that opens up the safe, all the crooks can go inside whenever they want and steal what they will, and, furthermore, pass down that magic number from generation to generation, in perpetuity.”

But Canada’s Catholic Bishops at least, in an on-going war with the Vatican, continue to strongly reject the ‘free lunch’ idea associated with the Doctrine of Discovery with the goal in mind of somehow convincing Pope Francis to issue yet some new Church edict that will neutralize this Doctrine of Discovery that is still on the books.


Instead of attempting the complicated and lengthy legal process of rescinding the Doctrine of Discovery, Pope Francis could immediately verbally censure those who violate certain prescribed Canon Laws, Principles and Precepts of the Church with Excommunications as a medicinal penalty. This censure would at least implore those violators of whatever Church law or standard to repent and, by so repenting, return to full grace and communion within the Church if they will only disavow the Doctrine of Discovery in its entirety. Those who receive such a censure would still remain a Catholic, per se, but be considered separated from the Church until they repent and correct their ways. This would mean the loss of certain rights, such as: the right to the Holy Sacrament yet they would still remain bound to all the obligations of Church and Canon Law.

8 years ago, Pope Francis in fact travelled to Italy’s southern region to personally excommunicate members of the Mafioso where he held an open -air Corpus Domini mass, and before the presence of the Holy Sacrament, berated the Calabria gangsters, condemning them, as he said, “For their adoration of evil, power and money and following a path that leads only to sin.”

Other Mafioso, known as the Ndranghata, also were excommunicated at the time for murdering a three-year-old boy, together with his grandfather, and burning up their bodies, in a case tied up, with suspected drug trafficking. The Catholic Church, under Pope Francis, also previously excommunicated, as well, an Australian priest for his support for the ordination of women and gay marriage.

8 famous historical figures also have been excommunicated by still other Catholic Pope’s: Fidel Castro in 1962, on the basis of a 1949 decree which forbad Catholics from being Communists. While other figures include: King Henry VIII; Martin Luther; Joan of Arc; King Henry IV of France; Queen Elizabeth I; Juan Peron, and; Napoleon.

So it isn’t inconceivable that the same legal-religious procedure could be applied to all those modern-day politicians, legal jurists and the like who henceforth will attempt to invoke in the future the Doctrine of Discovery to deprive First Nation peoples of their inalienable rights.


Idle No More represents a rolling protest movement that began in November 2012 as an indigenous, social movement of treaty people led by four women: three First Nations and one non-Native ally. This grassroots treaty people movement among the Aboriginal peoples in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada is comprised of First Nations, Métis, Inuit peoples and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent others, internationally.

Originally inspired, in part, by the Liquid Diet Hunger Strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, and further coordinated via social media, Idle No More was born as a reaction to alleged legislative abuses of Indigenous treaty rights by Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative federal government. The movement takes particular issue with Canada’s Omnibus Bill C-45. This popular grassroots movement in the past has included everything from round dances in public places to blockades of rail lines.

In 2012, this women-led Idle No More Movement began with a call for a new kind of nation-to-nation relations based on mutual respect. It since has rapidly continued to grow into an inclusive, continent-wide network of grassroots urban and rural indigenous peoples working hand-in-hand with non-indigenous allies to build a movement for Indigenous rights and the protection of land, water, and sky, To gain a deeper understanding of some of the issues involved and receive updates and emails go to: idlenomore.ca – Indigenous Revolution

Also read Understanding we are a multitude of First Nations is key to reconciliation (rabble.ca)

Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American writer who once upon a time in university was a Criminology student while working in one of America’s local police departments. For decades, Irwin has especially sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by a host of environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting world philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a spiritual odyssey among the native peoples of North America that has led to numerous articles pertaining to: Ireland’s Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & the U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; the many violations constantly being waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the World’s Collective Soul

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