Follow usTwitterFacebook


24 Aug 2016 Americas Europe Middle East - Africa News USA Vatican No comments

Pray For Italy: Earthquake in central Italy leaves at least 37 dead

A strong earthquake hit central Italy early on Wednesday, leaving at least 37 people dead, according to Italy’s civil protection agency. The magnitude six ea…

Read more

07 Oct 2014 Vatican No comments

Synod14: Full Text of Second General Congregation

Below is a translation of the Second General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops held Monday afternoon in the Vatican *** SYNOD 14 Summary Synod 14…

Read more

17 Aug 2016 Q&A No comments

Should we kneel at Mass?

Full Question I attend mass at the Newman Center of my college here in the United States. There are no kneelers and no one kneels. Should we kneel at Mass?…

Read more

22 Dec 2016 News No comments

Pope names first woman to head Vatican Museums

Barbara Jatta has been serving as vice-director of the museums since June Pope Francis has chosen, for the first time, a woman to head the Vatican Museums. …

Read more

27 Jan 2016 News Vatican No comments

Circus performers steal Vatican audience

“I think about so many brothers and sisters who are estranged from their families; they don’t speak to each other. Let the Year of Mercy be the time to end all …

Read more

20 Oct 2014 Articles Q&A Comments (12)

Does God have a body?

Of course not ! Though we read in the bible of God's arm, eyes, hand, his face etc. These are simply figurative ways of trying to speak of God's utter simpli…

Read more

10 Oct 2014 Articles Comments (24)

Are Catholics Born Again?

At least every mainstream Christian knows that to be saved one must be born again. Jesus says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot …

Read more

05 Nov 2015 Asia-Pacific News No comments

Philippine Bishops ban Usage of Ivory in the church

  The usage of Ivory in churches have been a thing of beauty to decorate the church with art works made out of them (like statues), but the Philippine Bis…

Read more

06 Apr 2016 Articles Comments (2)

Gossip: The worst Behavior of the Church today

"Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?" The question posed by Jesus shakes the conscience of e…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Pope’s apology doesn’t change opinions on Serra canonization

Pope Francis’ apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s crimes against indigenous peoples has not softened opposition among some California Native Americans to his decision to canonize 18th-century Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra.

Serra is extolled by the Vatican as a great evangelizer, but denounced by some tribal officials as a destroyer of Native culture.

Francis made a sweeping apology for the Church’s sins and “crimes” against indigenous peoples during a visit to Bolivia in July, “humbly” begging forgiveness in the presence of Bolivia’s first-ever indigenous president and representatives of native groups from across South America, who wildly cheered the pope and said they accepted the apology.

But Ron Andrade, a member of the La Jolla Indian Reservation, said the pope’s apology is not a real reckoning with the Church’s history of abusing Native Americans and appears intended to seek forgiveness and move on.

Norma Flores, a spokeswoman for the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, Kizh Nation, said the pope’s apology is meaningless if he doesn’t halt the canonization of Serra on Sept. 23 at Washington’s National Shrine.

“Pope Francis has gone to South America and apologized,” she said. “Yet he is going to canonize the individual responsible for the genocide of Native people.”

The plan to elevate Serra to sainthood has sparked protests in California, where the priest’s name is found on schools, street signs, and public squares and is closely associated with the state’s history.

Serra introduced Christianity and established settlements as he marched north with Spanish conquistadores through the land that would become California. In 1769, he established his first mission in San Diego. He would go on to found numerous additional missions, including San Francisco. The missions taught religion and farming.

But many Native Americans say the missions cut their ancestors off from their traditional languages and cultures, enslaved those who converted to Christianity, and brought disease that led to the mass extermination of Indian populations.

Serra’s treatment of Native Americans was controversial during his own life, said Steven Hackel, a University of California, Riverside history professor who has written a biography of Serra.

“The system he created, he should have known where it was headed,” Hackel said, referring to the disease and death that would plague native populations on missions in the ensuing decades.

The Vatican has gone on the offensive to present Serra more positively as someone who protected Native Americans from colonial officials. Some historians say Serra saw the missions as refuges for Indians from unscrupulous soldiers and settlers. They say his support for flogging Native Americans reflected a paternalistic attitude that was common at the time.

“Father Junipero Serra was a very, very good person in a very, very bad situation, which I identify as colonialism,” said Andrew Galvan, an Ohlone Indian who curates Mission Dolores in San Francisco and supports Serra’s canonization.

Galvan said he is hopeful Serra’s canonization will open up dialogue between missions and native peoples.

“We can’t change what happened in the past. The Church has admitted there were mistakes in the past,” he said. “But we have a golden opportunity as a Church today to reach out to native peoples and reconcile. That would be the miracle of Serra.”

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the US, said Serra’s canonization had an altogether different significance.

“The first Hispanic pope is coming to America to give us the first Hispanic saint,” the Mexican-born Gomez told a recent Church-organized conference in Philadelphia. He called it an “historic moment in the life of the Hispanic people,” where the pope would be calling on Hispanics across the country to reflect on their history, identity, and “our legacy as immigrants.”

Critics say they want action, not words. The pope should help Native Americans regain land they lost, Andrade said.

Flores wants the pope to start by visiting California and acknowledging a detailed list of what she says were the Church’s crimes. “We will never forgive or forget, but we need that in order for our wounds to heal,” she said.

A visit to the state is not on the pope’s itinerary.

The president of the California Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops, announced Friday that the bishops would revise the cultural displays at California missions and review the third- and fourth-grade curriculum in Catholic schools to better reflect the relationship between the missions and Native Americans. Jaime Soto, bishop of Sacramento and the conference’s president, said “the Indian experience has been ignored or denied.”


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories