The church’s interest in political conquest

From “The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy: and the Path to a Shared American Future” by Robert P. Jones

The most relevant papal edict for the American context was the bull Inter Caetera, issued by Pope Alexander VI in May 1493 with the express purpose of validating Spain’s ownership rights of previously “undiscovered” lands in the Americas following the voyages of Columbus the year before. It praised Columbus, “who for a long time had intended to seek out and discover certain islands and mainlands remote and unknown and not hitherto discovered by others.” It again affirmed the church’s blessing of and interest in political conquest, “that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.”