Doug Smith does a wonderful job of giving us a bit of history on the great Indian advocate Bartholomew de las Casas. I find the text (Eccl:34) de las Casas chose for his birthday text appropriate in a modern context when mineral extraction has become a central issue of hurt upon indigenous world tribes.
The Spanish conquest and colonisation of the New World soon led to a debate over enslavement of the Indian native population decades before the rest of Europe confronted the horror and injustice of the enslavement of Africans. This was due in large part to a few prophetic priests’ fierce criticism of their fellow countrymen’s treatment of Indians. The leading defender of the Indians, Father Bartholomew De las Casas, devoted himself for fifty years to enactment of labor reform in the Spanish colonies and to proclaiming the liberty and equality of the original inhabitants.
Sent in 1502 to manage the properties of his father in the Domincan Republic, De las Casas himself owned Indian slaves before he was converted to protect and defend the Indians by some powerful preaching and by his studies of the Bible. Consecrated as a priest by the Dominicans in 1510, he heard Father Antonio de Montosinos…
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