Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.
To read more about Episode 250, visit the main episode page.
Michael Moore [00:00:29] Hello, everyone. This is Rumble with Michael Moore, and I’m Michael Moore. Hope all of you are doing well. It didn’t get much play yesterday, but there was a story in the news about Pope Francis. He had just returned from a weeklong visit to Canada, which we’re going to get into here in a minute, and he was in a wheelchair the entire time he was there, and when he got back to Rome, he mentioned to somebody in the press that he was pretty drawn out and exhausted and not feeling well and perhaps he would resign sometime in the near future, or future, or whatever. And of course, you know, my first thought when I heard that was, “geez, that’s really not a good idea if you can hold out, because the next Pope probably will not think the same way you think and do the things that you’ve done.” I am officially a recovering Catholic, baptized and raised in the Catholic Church, went to Catholic schools, went to the seminary in high school in the hopes at that time of being a priest. I was young. And I actually got to meet Pope Francis about four years ago in the fall of 2018. And it was quite a wonderful moment that I had with him. We were all in Rome for the premiere of my film, Fahrenheit 11/9, and I had wanted to meet him for some time. And one of the people on my crew contacted the Vatican and said, “Michael Moore would like to meet the Pope.” And then somebody got on the line and said, “Yeah, that’d be great.” And so, I don’t know, the next day or two there we were in Vatican Square for his weekly public audience that he does out on the steps of Saint Peter’s Basilica. He gives a little sermon and then goes down to bless the sick and others in need of his help. And after all that’s over, there’s a small group of people that get to speak with him individually. And on that day, I was one of them, as was Martin Luther King’s daughter, the new ambassador to Mexico for the Vatican. And it seems like there were one or two others there, I can’t remember who — and my sister Veronica was with me. And so when it came my time and he sees me, he gets all happy and grabs my hand and shakes it and clasps it very hard and immediately wants to start talking to me about my films that he’s seen, which I’m like, I’m thinking, “Popes don’t watch my movies.” But he had and he went into this about my films, and then he says to me, “Why aren’t you making more of them?” Yeah. And I’m like, “Well, you know,my films, they take awhile to make. They don’t have a script — you know, documentaries, nonfiction.” And he says, “You need to make more films and you need to make them now.” I was being scolded, essentially, by the Pope for not working hard enough. And I said, “No, no, listen, I’m always making a film. And yes, there will be one soon.” And of course, you know, this was three or four years ago and then the pandemic hit, and I held everything up. And, you know, I’m back at work now, but I was happy that he cared enough to issue a Papal Decree that I need to make more movies. And I said to him, “I would love to ask you a question.” And he goes, “Si. Si.” I said, “Do you think Capitalism is a sin? Is it evil that a few people get wealthy off the many who don’t?” He says, “Yes.” He says, “This is a sin.” Because I think Pope John Paul II, a predecessor of his, had made sort of the same statement more in the context of there were these two evils — referring to the old Soviet Union and what they called communism, but also that capitalism. And so Pope Francis says to me, he says, “Greed, it’s greed is what it is. And it is a sin.” I said, “I’m really happy to hear you say that.” And then he made a couple of other comments about what we need to do to make things more equitable in this world. And then just as we were, you know, his handlers were trying to get him away from me, and I said, “Just one more thing — don’t forget women. Women in the church are not equal as they are not in many societies and countries, and I think that should be a real top priority.” And he says, “Yes, you are right. Women, we must do this.” And off he went. He handed one of his handlers a rosary that he gave to me. My sister was taking pictures of this. I’ll post one or two of them here on the Substack of this podcast. But I want to talk about his trip to Canada, and I want to talk about the treatment of the indigenous people of both Canada and the United States here for a few minutes, and what I learned last week about something in the Catholic Church I had never heard of before.
Michael Moore [00:06:08] So we’ll get right to that. I just want to thank our underwriter today, Shopify. Shopify, as you know, is a long-time supporter of this podcast and has been instrumental in helping me start my own store, The Moore Store. We came up with this idea during the lockdowns. I’m going to donate the proceeds to helping bring back civics classes in our public schools and ending voter suppression. Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform that not only powers my store, but millions of other businesses, nonprofit organizations all around the globe. Shopify gives you access to resources once reserved only for big businesses. They help connect you with customers online, making it easy for any business or nonprofit or school to succeed. Shopify is more than a store, it grows with you. So join with me and millions of others who use Shopify and go to Shopify.com/rumble — make sure “rumble” is all lowercase — for a free 14-day trial and get full access to Shopify’s entire suite of features. Grow your small business with Shopify today. Go to Shopify.com/rumble right now. Shopify.com/rumble.
Michael Moore [00:07:56] So last week, on Monday, July 25th, 2022, Pope Francis flew from the Vatican in Rome to Alberta, Canada, and he had met with leaders of the various indigenous peoples of Canada, either earlier this year or last year at the Vatican. He invited them there. He wanted to apologize to them for the treatment by the Catholic Church, to the indigenous people of Canada, and all the horror that the church caused in terms of these schools. Native children were kidnaped essentially from their parents, made to go to these schools. They were seriously abused, assaulted, thousands actually died while they were attending these so-called Indian schools. And he wanted to apologize to them in person and ask for their forgiveness. And when they were there, they suggested that maybe he’d come to Canada in person and say it to the people, the indigenous people of Canada. And he said yes. And so last week, that’s what he did. He went to Canada and for about five or six days, he traveled from Alberta, which is in the West, all the way over to Quebec, in the east and up to the native peoples of the north, the Inuit people. They have their own territory called Nunavut. And so during these five or six days last week, he went and visited all the places where these Catholic schools were for the native peoples and issued one apology after another. His people wheeled him into various cemeteries of unmarked graves where these dead children were buried. It was very powerful, very emotional. Most of the Native Canadians — I’ll use that word here — we’re appreciative and grateful for the apology, but it really wasn’t everything that they were looking for. And we’re not talking about reparations, which is another whole subject, which both the Canadians and people of this country, the Americans still have never really fully and truly addressed. And we will deal with that on another episode. But for the purposes of what I wanted to say today, this was essentially initiated by a letter I received on the day that the Pope arrived in Canada from a Canadian, also a Canadian who is a member of and a descendant of the indigenous people of Canada. And her name is Buffy Sainte-Marie. Now, if you’re my age or older, you remember her as one of the early folk singers of the ’60s, became very famous writing the song “Universal Soldier” and a number of other songs. She played first in Toronto, but then came down to New York and became famous in the Greenwich Village, along with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and Ramblin Jack Elliott, Johnny Cash and others — folk singers of this new era of folk music in the early ’60s. And she’s had a career that is still going strong. She’s 81 years old now. She’s released records in every decade since the ’60s. She was the first indigenous person to win an Oscar, an Academy Award, for writing the song “Up Where We Belong.” That was the title song in An Officer and a Gentleman. So she’s had quite a career on many levels — beloved, well-respected. And I’m just opening up my email on Monday, and here’s an email from her. She writes, “Hi, Michael, regarding the Pope in Canada, the news channels are saying that indigenous people are calling for, ‘an apology’ from Pope Francis. That’s inaccurate. He has already apologized to us. We’re calling on the Pope and the Catholic Church to overturn the Doctrine of Discovery, rescind it, make it go away forever. It is still the active document referred to in U.S. and Canadian courts. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg used it in 2005 to defeat the tribe in New York State, which she later said that she regretted.” She continues, “From The Doctrine of Discovery, written in 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, it says that “explorers,” European explorers, “who come upon inhabited lands are instructed by the Pope to ‘invade, search, out, capture, vanquish and subdue all pagans whatsoever and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery. These explorers must appropriate,'” in other words, steal, “‘and give to the Pope and his successors, all of the inhabitants,'” slaves, “‘kingdoms, counties, dominions, possessions and goods, and to convert these pagans.'” And I thought what I was going to read here, convert them to Catholicism is not what the doctrine says, “‘and convert them to his use and profit.'” Wow. She goes on, “the Doctrine of Discovery is still active in the courts of colonized countries throughout the world, affecting the daily life of most indigenous people everywhere still today.” I was like, okay, wait a minute. I mean, I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schools. I’d never heard of the Doctrine of Discovery from 1452 — so this is like, what, 40 years before Columbus? —issued by the Pope to all those who were exploring new worlds throughout the planet. And whenever they came upon any of it, they were to seize it in the name of the Catholic Church, enslave all of its inhabitants, and to take all of its riches and possessions and any goods that they have and convert them to the Pope’s use and profit. Well, you when you read something like this, I think the first thing you want to think is, “okay, dude, you’re talking about 1452. They must have gotten rid of this by now.” So I started to do some research and sure enough, it’s still in existence. This Papal Doctrine is still in existence, still the rule of law as far as the Catholic Church goes, and then is used remarkably by secular governments — like the United States. They use it and refer to it in the same way — you remember the when the Roe v Wade decision was leaked two months early? Alito’s draft of what they were going to release? And in that draft, he couldn’t find anything to base a legal argument on taking women’s rights away. So he went back to the 1200s to pull some kind of decree from some king — I mean it was so crazy. And it was so mocked, when it was leaked, that he thought to himself, “I better pull this line out. This makes me sound crazy.” And so when the actual decision to get rid of Roe v Wade happens, it’s not in the decision because he knew — I always love it when the crazy know that they’re crazy. So anyway, so in researching this, we discovered that not only did this actually happen in the 1400s, but that it’s still treated as an active document to this day. I’m going to put a link on the podcast page here, a story from the National Geographic on the history of the Doctrine of Discovery. It’s called, “How the Centuries Old Catholic Decree Encouraged Colonization”. Wow. And there’ll be a link here too so that you can read one of these doctrines for yourself.
Michael Moore [00:16:48] The year after Columbus “discovered” the Americas, Pope Alexander VI updated the decree. And I’ll actually read one quote from the doctrine, the Catholic doctrine of 1493. The Pope wrote, “Among other works, pleasing the Divine Majesty and close to our heart, this indeed stands out the most, that of elevating the Catholic faith and the Christian religion, especially in these times, as well as extending and spreading it everywhere, securing the salvation of souls and subduing the barbarous nations and bringing them back to the faith itself.” To the Pope’s credit when he was in Canada last week, he called this brand of Christianity “evil.” And that the Catholic Church committed the “evil acts.” That’s the word he used. “Evil.” All the damage and the pain and the destruction caused throughout the world for hundreds of years because of faith. Because of this Catholic faith that basically said they were the one true people going to heaven and all the other pagans, everybody else, unless they joined up, were going to burn in hell. And just so that they don’t have to wait till they die and burn in hell, we’re going to make their lives utterly miserable in the meantime. The Indigenous people of Canada last week were hoping to hear that the Pope was going to make this Doctrine of Discovery null and void, and he did not. Now, he did say and do many, many, many good things last week, and he said it before. But it’s always this way. And, you know, as much as I like this guy and love the moment and will cherish it, you know, that I had with him a couple of years ago, it’s like you want him to go all the way. He starts to say these things, you know, crazy things. Wonderful crazy, I should say. Things that he said since he’s been pope that have outraged the conservative Catholics, like when he said that atheists go to heaven. A place, by the way, they’re not interested in going to but nonetheless, he said that the welcome mat there was open to atheists. He’s tried to undo a lot of the sort of cruel and mean-spirited rules of the Catholic Church toward people who happen to be homosexual or who don’t agree with the Catholic Church or whatever. But it’s never really quite, you know, all the way. And you’ve seen this, you know what I mean. And very disappointing last June when the Supreme Court of this country took the rights of women away from them, making them have less rights than the lesser rights they already had in this country. And instead of coming out and just issuing a decree that a fertilized egg is not a human being and that a fetus is not a human being, he said some kind of whatever, sounding supportive of the Supreme Court decision. And what’s awfully wrong about this is that the Supreme Court essentially has now made it the law of the land that we have to follow Catholic doctrine. It’s Catholic doctrine that says at the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg, that’s a human being with a soul. And that’s not true, and it’s a made up act of convenience to continue, whether it’s the Catholic Church or the patriarchy wherever it exists, to control women and their lives, to keep men in power. And the fact that he couldn’t say anything and tell the truth about this was extremely disappointing. And what’s interesting, too, is that just a couple of days ago, the Pope said that he is a believer in the separation of church and state, that the Catholic Church and no religion should impose their will as the will of a particular country. Again, very, very powerful. And to say this right after our Supreme Court did exactly that, our Catholic Supreme Court did exactly that. No free society can be a society that is ruled by the tenets of one religion whether you’re the United States, whether you’re the Church of England, whether you’re Israel, whatever it is, you know, or any of the numerous Islamic states. This is, as the Pope said the other day, it’s just an immoral action. But we’ll return in other episodes to this issue and how we’re going to deal with the destruction of Roe v Wade.
Michael Moore [00:22:37] I want to stay on this, what I wanted to say here about the native peoples of the United States and of Canada and of this particular doctrine of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis, if you are listening to me right now or if someone is listing for you and translating for you, you presented yourself to me as such a great fan. You quoted, you referenced things in my movies. It was clear that you knew what I was about and what I’m trying to say in these films, and you even admonished me to make more of them. I have to ask you to please, at the very least, now that you’ve returned from Canada in visiting the indigenous peoples of various parts of Canada, that you announce that this Doctrine of Discovery from 1452 and updated after that. “Updated” sounds like such a polite word — actually “made worse.” That you say that the Catholic Church no longer believes in this. Please renounce this doctrine. It’s not only, like, outdated, it’s immoral. It’s a sin. You’ve said so — it’s wrong the way that the Catholic Church used religion, and the way that the governments that were primarily Catholic used religion, to conquer the world, to colonize its people, to enslave its people, to kill its people in the name of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing better you could do on your return right now to Rome than to say that “I’m the Pope. You know, God talks through me and this doctrine is over.” And then add, “Now we have to make reparations for all the damage through hundreds of years that the Catholic Church and Christianity has caused.” Call up the Archbishop of Canterbury or whoever runs the Church of England, get them in on this too because the damage and destruction that they did throughout the world rivals much of what the Catholic Church did. But let’s end that. Let’s acknowledge what it is. Let’s make these reparations. And then come back, if you can, and meet with the native peoples here in the United States and help lead the way so that I and my fellow Americans — we still have not done the right thing. Native Americans along with African-Americans, occupy the lowest rung on our socioeconomic ladder. They are still the most abused, and have the least among us. And that has to change. And again, I know you said when you got back, this was a hard trip. You’re not well. You can’t walk. And that maybe you’ll quit soon. Don’t quit. Don’t quit soon. There’s a lot to be done. You need to guide the forced birthing people here in this country away from their insanity. You need to say that women have a right to choose, that a seed is a seed and a stem is a stem and a flower is a flower, a seed is not a flower. You need to say this very clearly when it comes to talking about human beings. You need to stand up for women. I know it sounds like I’m admonishing you now, but, you know, fair’s fair here. I took to heart what you told me, and now I ask you to do the same as my friend, as somebody who does admire you and who cares that you succeed. Please be well. Please fix that which no other pope is going to fix. Let’s do the right thing here. Thank you for coming to North America last week. Thank you for what you said and did. But now let’s go the final ten yards, and it’s a big ten yards because it is a Catholic doctrine that still exists, that still says it’s okay to take from those who have very little, that says that there is still a right to enslave them and to force them into Christianity. Come on. Come on. I know you. You and I held each other’s hands for the longest period of time that day, and we looked into each other’s eyes with complete and burning honesty. And you spoke to me the truth about Capitalism, about the wealthy, about the poor, and it moved me in a profound way. I ask you to do this for the native and indigenous people in our country, in Canada, and throughout the world. Bless you and thank you. I want to thank my producer, Angela Vargos, for helping me. And I thank all of you who are listening and participating in this podcast and in my Substack. Be well. This is Michael Moore and this is Rumble.