Are aboriginal first nations justifiably upset about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto’s 2017 prayer?

Does it imply that there were no Christians of aboriginal or non-abriginal orgin, 151 years ago?

Or does it simply mean that they don’t count as much as, say, European Christians?

Anniversary Prayer

Loving Father, we turn to you with gratitude for the many blessings you have generously bestowed upon the people of the Archdiocese of Toronto, who from the very beginning have arrived here from many nations to find and strengthen a community of faith, where we have been able to encounter your Son in our joys and sorrows.

As the Archdiocese celebrates its 175th anniversary, we ask you to continue to bless your people with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that all clergy, religious and faithful may be gathered and strengthened in their mission of constantly proclaiming the wonderful works of salvation to all we meet.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I bet the Archdiocese has a French translation checker. What: No one with aboriginal training to proof-read a prayer recited in every Catholic mass in every parish for 52 weeks in 2017? Diocese statistics

terra nullius

The prayer seems to imply that the Archdiocesan land, before 150 years, was empty. This “empty” doctrine has been used for centuries to justify colonial land theft.

This seems to me to be a very, very close to a restatement of the Latin expression terra nullius:

meaning “nobody’s land”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. Sovereignty over territory which is terra nullius may be acquired through occupation, (see reception statute) though in some cases doing so would violate an international law or treaty.

There is ironclad proof that first nations have been born, lived and died in highly sophisticated nation states for at least 10,000 years in central Ontario.

I know this issue upset someone who I go to mass with so, after bringing it up to my pastor, I thought I’d put this out.



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