Bishop Luis Secco requests forgiveness for the Catholic Church’s slavery past

July 4, 2023  –WILLEMSTAD – Bishop Luis Secco of Willemstad has written an open letter in which he seeks forgiveness for the role the Catholic Church played in perpetuating slavery in the past. His appeal comes in light of the commemoration of 160 years since the abolition of slavery in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

In his letter, Secco acknowledges that some members and religious leaders of the Catholic Church, driven by misinterpretations of the Holy Scriptures and personal, primarily economic gain, were complicit in the dehumanization of individuals through slavery. Such acts are reprehensible and contradict the principles of our Christian faith. For this, I ask for forgiveness, stated the bishop. 

The bishop also emphasizes that this acknowledgment of the past does not negate the ongoing efforts of the Church to serve and care for the community. He recalls the numerous contributions of the Church to society, including the establishment of schools, hospitals, sports facilities, nursing homes, and even care centers for leprosy patients. 

Bishop Secco concludes with a pledge that the Catholic Church will continue to strive for liberation, reconciliation, and social and spiritual healing. He reminds us of the fundamental belief that “we are all brothers and sisters” and that we must be accountable for how we treat our fellow human beings. 

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