Pope voices willingness to return Indigenous loot, artifacts

by | May 2, 2023 | Religion

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis said Sunday that talks were underway to return colonial-era artifacts in the Vatican Museum that were acquired from Indigenous peoples in Canada and voiced a willingness to return other problematic objects in the Vatican’s collection on a case-by-case basis.“The Seventh Commandment comes to mind: If you steal something you have to give it back,” Francis said during an airborne press conference en route home from Hungary.
Recently, Francis returned to Greece the three fragments of the Parthenon sculptures that had been in the Vatican Museums’ collection for two centuries. The pope said Sunday that the restitution was “the right gesture” and that when such returns were possible, museums should undertake them.
“In the case where you can return things, where it’s necessary to make a gesture, better to do it,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t, if there are no possibilities — political, real or concrete possibilities. But in the cases where you can restitute, please do it. It’s good for everyone, so you don’t get used to putting your hands in someone else’s pockets.”
His comments to The Associated Press were his first on a question that has forced many museums in Europe and North America to rethink their …

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