Vatican Repudiates “Doctrine of Discovery”

On March 30, 2023, the Vatican formally repudiated the “Doctrine of Discovery,” declaring that this policy used to justify colonization is “not part of the teaching of the Catholic Church.” The joint statement by the Dicasteries for Culture and Education and for Promoting Integral Human Development said the decrees “did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples” and “were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers in order to justify immoral acts against indigenous peoples that were carried out, at times, without opposition from ecclesiastical authorities.”