Defending Serra

Defining Blessed Junípero Serra as a “working-class missionary,” Archbishop José H. Gómez of Los Angeles said the 18th-century Franciscan deserves to be made a saint and to have his record as a defender of native peoples made known. Pope Francis’ announcement that he will canonize Blessed Serra in September “has opened old wounds and revived bitter memories about the treatment of Native Americans during the colonial and missionary period of America’s history,” the archbishop said. Speaking on May 2 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Archbishop Gómez said the legacy of Blessed Serra, who founded nine California missions, has been “distorted” by “anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic propaganda.” He added, “It is clear that Pope Francis—the first pope from the New World—understands the Christian roots of the Americas and the continent’s importance for the church’s mission in the 21st century.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Images: CNS/Composite: America
On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church lost a moral titan in the long struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States.
Shannen Dee WilliamsNovember 22, 2017
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar military commander-in-chief, speaks during the Union Peace Conference Aug. 31 in Naypyitaw (CNS photo/Hein Htet, EPA).
Gen. Min Aung Hlaing wields great political power in the country.
Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in “Wonder” (CNS photo/Lionsgate). 
‘Wonder’ is a tween melodrama on a mission of mercy.
Simcha FisherNovember 22, 2017
The change was in “no way” a response to the C.C.H.D.’s persistent online critics, an archdiocesan official says.
Kevin ClarkeNovember 22, 2017