Did Pope Francis preview his argument for making Junipero Serra a saint? (ANALYSIS)

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This statue of Father Junipero Serra was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by California in 1931.

Photo courtesy of Architect of the Capitol

This statue of Father Junipero Serra was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by California in 1931.

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(RNS) Are Americans ready for a nuanced view of the Spanish missionary's history in California -- and his sanctity -- when Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. with the canonization of Serra on his agenda?

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  • Dominic

    The research and study that elevates a person to Sainthood is exhaustive, so the Pope, obviously, is fully aware of Fr.Serra’s holiness in life. Historic revisionism tries to judge his actions in California by modern standards, which unfairly blights the work he accomplished for his love of God. California, itself, has always regarded him as a hero, so its sad to read these “new” stories told of him from a modern, prejudiced viewpoint. I only wish the Pope would canonize him in Rome, to avoid the sight of protestors during a sacred event.

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    I’m so glad that Pope Francis acknowledged not only the brutality of the European soldiers in the so-called New World, but also the great injustices done to the indigenous people in the name of religion! Happily, not all were like that. St. Peter Claver, whose feast is celebrated on September 9th, not only protected abused slaves and natives, he LOVED them and was always bringing them food, clothing and comfort. He wanted to die with them! Now that behavior is true religion.

  • Betty Clermont

    “By 1818 the percentage of Indians who died in the missions reached 86 percent. Over 81,000 Indian ‘converts’ eventually managed to successfully flee the missions.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/08/15/567667/-The-Great-California-Genocide
    The pope should also apologize for the Church’s aiding and abetting the Latin American military dictatorships of the 1970s and 80s in which Bergoglio himself had a role. http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/16515-focus-pope-francis-cia-and-death-squads and http://www.americaeconomia.com/analisis-opinion/bergoglio-y-el-almirante-massera

  • Dominic

    The entire White race, not the Catholics, is collectively responsible for the often brutal conquest of the New World. Should we all apologize? To what end?
    Our ancestors would not recognize our reasoning for any apology. The world acted as it did in the times it did with universal approval. We conquered heathen lands, and graciously offered them civilization and Christianity. We saw value in the resources they did not, so we took them for our own use.
    Sounds horrible, right? Well, 600 years ago…..it was the right thing to do as far as the powers believed at the time. We need to be careful in judging history from afar, for the entire set of standards is naturally quite different.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    What a farce for Anglos to attack the Church for doing what it could to protect native peoples in Latin America,
    It wasn’t in Spanish America that the slogan was “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Ever heard of the “Trail of Tears.”???
    One need only look at the faces in the crowds cheering the pope to see there was no genocide against the native peoples in Latin America to match the wholesale wiping out of native peoples in North America.

  • KC Cramer

    Dear Dominic, this is not simply directed at you, but the topic of which you talk.
    I want to add that, in my studies of early American colonization, there are many stories of the conquest of the New World. And, much of it is not brutal,. Of course, we have stories of battles. But, please also know the stories of Christian-like behavior that is not just Catholic, but honorable and fair and uniting. One such example of Godly coordination of men is colonial Roger Williams. He founded Providence, Rhode Island. But also, he learned to speak the Indian leanguage, brought people into each others societies, and promoted land acquisition by trade and purchase. There are others that did the same. There is so much love in the inhabitations of our America that is not been the focus, in fact, perhaps lost in teaching. We remember Pocahantas and Sacagawea. And, those are other examples of how peoples can live amongst each other with love, companionship, wisdom, and peace.
    Let us not…

  • KC Cramer

    Let us not forget those that deserve our praise as carrying on Christ’s ways.

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  • Dan

    I WAS a catholic and attended a catholic school from first grade to master’s degree. However, the catholic supported killing of the Indians cannot be condoned, forgiven or praised. The Catholic Church killed the Indians – many for alleged catabolism only to ask them to partake of the flesh of Christ via the host and the blood of Christ via the wine in the Sacred Chalice.
    Murder, extermination of the Indian civilization, starvation, torture and other crimes against the Indians was wrong then and is still wrong by “modern standards.” If this is the way you truly feel, read the 10 commandments and then go to confession for such impure thoughts. You and everyone who supports this is not a Catholic and is as demented as the Spanish soldiers who committed the atrocities and the catholic priests, monks, brothers and other fake men of god who stood by and watched the wrongs and did not stop it.