Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"There's a syncretism here..."

Our Sunday Visitor offers a story out of the Southwest.

"There's a syncretism here..." says Fr. Jamison. No kidding! And it's not a good thing. The worship of creation and the worship of the Creator can't be reconciled. It is no kindness to Native Americans to pretend that it can. Unless Sr. Clissene and Fr. Jamison were very, very sure that those doing the crown dance were not worshipping nature, they should not have associated themselves with it.

As for Christianity being part of their oppression -- yes, it was certainly invoked by many Europeans to justify their sins. But Native Americans need to understand that Christian principles -- especially the thought of Las Casas, Vitoria, and other Catholic philosophers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries -- also led to the establishment of the reservation system, which for all its ills, recognized their status as human beings having a culture of their own and deserving a chance to preserve it. Those principles protected them from the obliteration of their culture, or even their annihilation, which two options have been the usual lot of conquered peoples throughout history.