Indigenous Peoples Protest the Pope’s Canonization of Junipero Serra

September 19th, 2015 - by admin

Indian People Organizing for Change & The National Catholic Reporter & The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band – 2015-09-19 01:52:39

The Pope’s Visit and Deep Sadness
Louise Dunlap / Special to EAW

(September 17, 2015) — I just received a message from people who share my spiritual path about the great potential for collective awakening in the Pope’s visit to the United States.

I feel that too, but I am also filled with deep sadness (plus bewilderment and anger) that this same visit will include the canonization of Junipero Serra, founder of the mission system that began the process of native genocide in California.

I’m concerned that people don’t really know about this issue, so I responded on my listserv with some thoughts I’d like to share with you, too.

Even if you live in California, you may not know the true history of the missions because our own schools teach a mythologized version. Diligent reading and spending time with remarkable survivors have helped me see through the stories about benign missionaries I was raised with and opened my heart to the suffering of the First People here.

There are so many issues to follow that even I who live here and know these stories was not as active as I would wish during months of protests against canonization, but I do plan to join an Interfaith Gathering next Wednesday September 23 — the date of the actual canonization ceremony.

In case you, too, want to touch in on the full impact of this moment, here are some links to help counteract the dominant narrative. If you have time for only one link, read the second item below, a touching letter that a local tribe sent to the Pope earlier this year, hoping to head off the canonization.

And please know as you celebrate what is good and wholesome about the Pope’s presence that there is suffering embedded in it — more layers of awakening to happen before we can truly include all.

With Respect,

ACTION: Say No to Colonization and the
Continued Genocide of Indigenous People Globally

Indian People Organizing for Change

On September 23rd at 4:15 EST the Pope and the Catholic Church will make a grave and horrendous mistake. They intend to make Junipero Serra a saint. This monster created genocide of Indigenous people beginning in Mexico and came up to what is now California and spread disease and slavery and destruction everywhere he traveled.

He was the “evangelizer” of the “new world” and would stop at nothing, even knowing that wherever he went, death followed. It was a time of little choice for our ancestors as they were quickly enslaved, never being able to live as they once did, leaving behind their way of life, religion, language and everything they once knew in less than the 100 years that the missions existed.

We stand as survivors of this genocide and say no to Sainthood for a man that was of his time. He did not stand for the Indians, he stood for his own ego, the crown of Spain and a church that recognized us as less than human.

Copyright 2015, Indian People Organizing for Change, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

How Tarnished Is Serra’s Halo?
Vinnie Rotondaro / National Catholic Reporter

(September 15, 2015) – Saint-making normally isn’t the backdrop for deep cultural battles. Disagreements over the official distribution of halos rarely rise to the level of wide popular interest, and the ceremonies themselves are often celebrations largely for those who have advocated and financed the new saint’s cause.

Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Franciscan friar who came from Spain to California to evangelize its indigenous population, is another case entirely. It is likely that the adjective “controversial” will long accompany any mention of his canonization, which will occur Sept. 23 at a ceremony celebrated by Pope Francis in Washington, D.C.

Strong disagreement exists between those who promote his sainthood and those who oppose it. Each side lays claim to a version of history, advanced in each case by historians of note, and each side accuses the other of failing to see the full picture. Both sides agree that a false “myth” regarding Serra’s legacy further clouds and confuses the debate.

Serra apologists acknowledge that the friar’s history has a dark side, but point to the positive, while indigenous activists say the negatives experienced by indigenous people far outweigh the good Serra may have done.

In what was then known as Alta California, Serra established a system of Catholic missions in which California Native Americans lived and were largely coerced to become Christian.

In May, Francis called Serra “one of the founding fathers of the United States.” He said that missionaries like Serra “brought the Gospel to the New World and, at the same time, defended the indigenous people against abuses by the colonizers.”

A website,, published by the Los Angeles archdiocese and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, echoes the sentiment, calling the Franciscan a “staunch advocate for the Native Americans,” compared to his more rapacious countrymen, the conquistadors.

In the website’s Frequently Asked Questions section, one question asks, “Why is Father Serra a saint?” It is answered: “Father Junipero Serra left behind a life of academic prestige and renown to take on a life of hardship, sacrifice and toil in order to become an advocate and spiritual minister to the Native California Indians. Defying many obstacles, including, at times, members of the civil government, Serra devoted himself to attracting hearts to Christ. He exemplified heroic virtues in the California frontier, and through his grace and perseverance he brought the Gospel of Christ to many who had not heard it before.”

Indigenous objectors couldn’t disagree more with this interpretation. They point to the rampant death that occurred inside the missions — where thousands perished, crammed into poor living quarters with disease running wild — and say that Serra was so blinded by his belief in his faith and his people’s superiority that he focused more on baptizing Indians than tending to their suffering.

Those who object to the canonization argue that Native American culture was systematically dismantled through evangelization. Children were separated from adults, from their families; Native American languages and religion were stamped out.

California Indians essentially became prisoners, they say, held captive by the mission system, forbidden to leave and forced to do labor. Those who escaped and were recaptured were brought back and whipped as a matter of protocol.

According to indigenous objectors, this is the system that Serra set up and spread. Demographic and cultural genocide ensued. In what world is he a saint?

Lies of the Missions
“They said that [we] came freely [to the missions]. They said that the missions brought God to the Indians. And yet, in our creation stories, the Creator made us to take care of those lands. That was our purpose. And we had a wonderful and very strong relationship with the Creator,” said Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of the Costanoan/Ohlone Indians.

“They said that they taught the Indians agriculture and a better lifestyle,” he said. “You know, our people survived on those lands for 10,000 years. . . . We knew how to take care of the lands, the food, the wildlife.

“Those were the lies they came up with,” said Lopez, who has written an open letter to Pope Francis about the objection from his Californian tribe. “And whenever the California education system was developing, they got the history from missions from the Franciscans, and so they perpetuated those stories and those lies of the mission period. And [young students] continue to learn that garbage today.”

For generations, fourth graders across California have been taught what almost all serious scholars agree is a myth about Serra and his missions, that Serra and California Indians got along swimmingly. It portrays missions as peaceful places where Christianity was taught.

The myth began sometime after the publication of a popular American novel by Helen Hunt Jackson from the late 1800s called Ramona, said Elias Castillo, a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee who researched a book about the ill-treatment of Native Americans in the California mission system, A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions.

Ramona told the story of a half-Scottish, half-Native American orphan girl, and was set in Southern California after the mission system had shut down and the territory was under Mexican rule. In one scene, Ramona visits a former mission that has been converted into a bucolic church.

“Jackson, in her book, describes the mission as beautiful with flowers and fountains and gardens, and very, very peaceful,” said Castillo.

Jackson’s memorable description was picked up and used as a kind of branding image by American developers looking to attract buyers to California, he said.

“And it worked absolutely great. The developers wanted to use the missions as tourist attractions. And so they went to people like [Henry E.] Huntington, [Charles] Crocker, [Leland] Stanford, the big wealthy entrepreneurs. And that’s how the missions got rebuilt.”

But no one knew much about the missions’ true history.

“When Ramona first came out,” Castillo said, “the missions were really nothing more than piles of eroding adobe bricks, melting adobe bricks in the rain. Nobody really knew anything about them.”

An Alternative History
Castillo’s research yields a shocking picture of life in the mission system. Missions were dirty, crowded places, he said. Indians came for a variety of reasons, he said. Some joined out of curiosity. Many more came out of necessity — the presence of the Spanish wreaked havoc on their ways of life and means of subsistence.

Others still were rounded up and taken to the mission by force, he said.

Once inside, they were not allowed to leave and were treated like “children.” The squalor of mission life assisted in the spread of European disease, leading to immense loss of life and accompanying grief and stress.

“So many simply willed themselves to die, unable to stand the terrible stress,” Castillo wrote in his book. “The overall result was that nearly half of the missions’ population died each year.”

On top of it all, physical punishment was common, he said. “The statistics kept by the friars were very, very detailed. Punishment records would name the Indian and how many lashes they received, and why they were being punished. Some of them were being punished simply for asking for more food.”

In his book, Castillo includes testimony from a group of California Indians who had escaped Mission San Francisco in 1797. Recaptured by Spanish soldiers, they gave testimony, which a solider transcribed.

Tiburcio: He testified that after his wife and daughter died, on five separate occasions Father Danti ordered him whipped because he was crying. For these reasons he fled. . . .
Homobono: He testified that his motive for fleeing was that his brother had died on the other shore, and when he cried for him at the mission they whipped him. Also, the alcalde Valeriano hit him with a heavy cane for having gone to look for mussels at the beach without Raymundo’s permission. . . .
Patabo: He says that he fled just because his wife and children died and he had no one to take care of him. . . .
Magno: He declared that he had run away because, his son being sick, he took care of him and was therefore unable to go out to work. As a result he was given no ration and his son died of hunger.
Prospero: He declared that he had gone one night to the lagoon to hunt ducks for food. For this Father Antonio Danti ordered him stretched out and beaten. Then, the following week he was whipped again for having gone out on a paseo. For these reasons he fled.

Some sainthood promoters say that Serra himself never whipped any Indians, but that misses the point, objectors say. He set up the system that allowed for whipping.

In fact, they say he explicitly condoned it: “Two or three whippings which Your Lordship may order applied to them on different days may serve, for them and for the rest, for a warning may be of spiritual benefit to all,” Serra wrote to Spanish Gov. Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, regarding four Indians who had been caught escaping from Mission Monterey. “And if your lordship does not have shackles, with your permission they may be sent from here.”

Both Lopez and Castillo said that Serra was likely an unwitting violator of human rights.

“His job was to baptize us so we could go to heaven,” Lopez said. “That’s how he was trying to save our souls. He would just go through the act of baptizing and then figure that his job was done and that nothing else mattered.”

Castillo said, “Serra really didn’t care about the Indians’ life on earth. . . . He was a madman.”

Straight Talk
Robert Senkewicz, a professor of history at Santa Clara University in California, believes that the controversy surrounding Serra’s canonization too frequently gets lost in the “mission myth.”

“Most of the people who are reacting so negatively about the canonization are reacting to the mission myth,” he said, “rather than to the historical situation.”

Senkewicz recently co-authored a book with his wife, Rose Marie Beebe, also a professor at Santa Clara, titled Junipero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary. This May, Senkewicz and Beebe presented the book in Rome at a conference hosted by the Los Angeles archdiocese about Serra’s life.

In an earlier interview with NCR, Senkewicz said that he doesn’t think it’s legitimate to use Serra as “a stand-in for the entire 65 years of mission experience in California. The system developed after his death [in 1784] in ways he did not plot or intend.”

Senkewicz told NCR, “In Junipero Serra’s willingness to sacrifice the comforts of a very successful career, to forego climbing the academic and ecclesiastical ladders, to travel halfway around the world in order to live the rest of his life among people he had never seen but whom he deeply and genuinely loved, and to go without many advantages he could easily have gained, one sees qualities that are very consistent with what the church has long held up as indications of sanctity.”

Others say that if any of the things researchers like Castillo and activists like Lopez point to are true, Serra can’t possibly be a saint.

“I guess you could make a column,” said Mark Day, a former Franciscan turned journalist who has been reporting on indigenous objection to Serra’s canonization, “all the good things you want to say about him and all the bad things. The good things are that typical Spanish mysticism, and self-flagellation — which to me is just masochism — and walking all those miles with an ulcerated leg, and sincerely being dedicated to the Indians, and calling the soldiers out on the rapes — he did that. But on the other hand, he fostered the beatings.”

Day can’t see past that. He has no patience for rationalizations made in Serra’s defense.

Nor can he stand the use of euphemistic language. For example, does one say that Indians “ran away” from the missions, like children running away from home, or that they “escaped,” as if from prison?

“A lot of historians are saying, don’t use the word slavery,” Day said. “You have to be careful, a slave is somebody that you own, and the friars didn’t own the Indians — but they were their wards. … If they shirked off on their work, they were beaten. If they escaped, they were brought back and beaten!”

“It doesn’t make any difference what somebody’s intentions are, it’s what they did,” said Day. “The bottom line is that the Indian viewpoint, the Indian voice, is just as much ignored today as it was during the time of the missions.

Cultural Genocide
According to Steven Newcomb, co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, the trauma inflicted by Serra and the missions has its deepest roots at the level of culture. One of the worst crimes of the missions was cultural genocide, he said.

“They were taking children, very young in years, and separating them out from adults, separating them from their families,” Newcomb said. “That’s been one of the prime techniques of destroying culture — not allowing the transmission of culture.

“But see, they weren’t calling it culture,” said Newcomb, who is Shawnee and Lenape (neither tribe is from California). “They didn’t have any idea about that. They just thought it was these barbarous habits and behaviors, and there was nothing of worth that children could obtain from adults in a ‘barbarous society that’s scarcely human,’ ” in the words of Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén, second president of the California mission system.

“It’s that overall arrogance, that sense of absolute superiority over an ‘inferior, barbarous people,’ ” he said. “The dehumanization involved in that type of thinking, they didn’t understand they were dehumanizing people. But that’s the effect, and everyone’s still dealing from the outcome.”

Lopez said that California Indians continue to live with this legacy.

“Our humanity has never been recognized,” he said. “Serra came here, he believed our people had no soul, and so that is why it was okay for him to do those whippings and the brutality.”

“We carry this history with us through the generations,” he said.

Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is
This story appeared in the Sept 11-Sept 24, 2015 print issue.

(Especially moving)

From the National Catholic Reporter (looking more deeply from a Catholic point of view)

Opposition to Serra Sainthood
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

Serra Gate: A Fabrication of a Saint By Christine Grabowski, Ph.D. There is a scurrilous fabrication being disseminated by the Catholic Church regarding Junipero Serra, the missionary whom Pope Francis intends to canonize on September 23, 2015. Read more at

Listen to a discussion of the controversy surrounding Serra’s canonization including AmahMutsun Chairman Valentin Lopez as broadcast on Radio KALW on Sept. 14, 2015

Petition to California Gov. Jerry Brown to Oppose Canonizing Junipro Serra. Please see to sign our petition asking the governor not to remain silent on the proposal to canonize Serra. The petition has received more than 500 signatures in four days.

Tribal Chairmen’s Assn. Letter Opposing Canonization. In an August 2015 letter Association members state their opposition to canonizing Junipero Serra and reason that the Pope must be “unaware of the deadly toll and devastating effect that the Catholic Mission system had on our nations and peoples here in California. How else can we make sense of you associating the image of “sainthood” with a Spanish Catholic missionary who instituted and imposed a Catholic mission system upon our ancestors with deadly and dehumanizing effects?

Association of Tribal Governments Letter Opposing Serra Sainthood. The California Association of Tribal Governments has written a letter to Richard Garcia, Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey, Ca., his Holiness Pope Francis be asked to reevaluate his decision to canonize Friar Junipero Serra,” and asking for a meeting to reevaluate the church’s relationship with the families of all California Indians taken to the missions where they were enslaved. In addition, the letter states: “It is essential that his Holiness Pope Francis rescind the a Papal Bulls that comprise the Doctrine of Discovery.”

Letter to Pope Francis re Doctrine of Christian Discovery, September 10, 2015. New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends has ssent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to repudiate and rescind the Doctrine of Christian Discovery promulgated by predecessor popes.

Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, August, 2015, September 6, 2015. The letter presents a second request to the Govenor to recognize the damage done to California native people’s by Serra and the Missions. State support of Serra’s canonization perpetuates the factual distortion of California history and sends the message that native lives don’t matter.

Is California’s New Saint More of a Sinner? The Amah Mutsun opposition to canonizing Junipero Serra is part of story reported by Public Radio International, a nonprofit orgaization whose content attracts nearly 19 million people around the world each month. “We’ve asked The Pope to work with our tribal members to begin a healing process. And we have not heard back from him,” Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, told PRI.

Tribal Psychiatrist Says Serra Canonization Will Deepen ‘Soul Wound’, “For the most part, California Indians have never healed from the treatment their ancestors endured in the missions, and making Junipero Serra a saint is going to make it even harder for healing to occur,” psychologist Donna Schindler told former Franciscan friar Mark Day. In an article published in La Prensa San Diego Day explores the issue of historic trauma with Dr. Schindler.

California’s Saint, and a Church’s Sins. An opinion piece by New York Times writer Lawrence Downes describes opposition to the canonization of Junipero Serra. The piece quotes Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band: “How can Pope Francis and the Catholic Church speak or act with moral authority when they know that they have mistreated the indigenous people?” and the book A Cross of Thorns authored by Elias Castillo.

Far from Civilized and Scarcely Human, Steven Newcomb, author and co-founder of the Indigenous Law Institute, describes letters from Friars Fermin Francisco de Lasuén and Junipero Serra demonstrating they regarded Indian people as posessions of the California Missions. His essay appeared in Indian Country Today.

Letter from Steven Newcomb to Gov. Brown Steven Newcomb, author and co-foundeer of the Indigenous Law Institute, challenges California Gov. Jerry Brown to oppose canonization of Junipero Serra. Earlier the governor called Serra “one of the innovators and pioneers of California”

Letter to Gov Brown re Serra also Gobernador Brown re Serra (en espanol), The Amah Mutsun Tribal Chair has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to join in opposing the canonization of Junipero Serra. The request was made in a letter delivered to the Governor’s Office July 17, 2015.


Letter-to-Pope-Francis-re-Encyclical-1 July 2015 also Respuesta de Amah Mutsun a la Enciclica de la Iglesia Catolica con relacion al Medio Ambiente (en espanol) Presenting the Amah Mutsun response to the Pope’s Encyclical Letter regarding the environment

Letter to Pope Francis From Valentin Lopez (RE: Serra) Feb. 24, 2015 also Carta Baierta al Papa Francisco (en espanol) The letter presented reasons for the Amah Mutsun opposing the canonization of Serra and requests that the Pope rescind two 15th Century Papal Bulls.

Letter to Pope Francis from Valentin Lopez May 9,2015 Requesting a meeting with the Pope regarding canonization of Junipero Serra

Letter to Pope Francis from Valentin Lopez, Apr 25, 2014 Advising Pope Francis that efforts for Indian leaders to meet with California Conference of Bishops were rejected

Letter to Pope Francis from Donna Schindler, March 12, 2015 Urging the Pope to acknowledge the Mission’s effect on California Indians and not canonize Serra.

Letter to Pope Francis from Donna Schindler, April 25, 2014 Describing how historical trauma is passed down through generations.

Letter to Pope Francis from Valentin Lopez, Aug. 29, 2013 describing the Amah Mutsun tribal history and requesting a hearing with the church.

Letter from Mary Valdemar JS SB. 30 May 2015 “Although I believe that much good work is done within the church, today I am here as one of many Catholics who oppose the canonization of Serra,” Mary Valdmar, co founder of Chicano Indigenous Community for Culturally Conscious Advocacy and Action (ChICCCAA) told a Santa Barbara gathering in May, 2015.

Sign the Petition Opposing Sainthood for Serra. We have until the Pope’s arrival in the United States Sept. 22 to deliver our message. Thousands have already signed. Please join us.

Program Features Arguments Against Canonizing Serra
Radio KPFA’s Visionary Activist Show features Valentin Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and authors Matthew Fox and Elias Castillo discussing their opposition to plans to canonize Junipero Serra. (Audio)


Demanding the Pope’s Attention, San Jose Mercury News, July 11, 2015 by Tracy Seipel
Several hundred people gathered at Mission San Juan Bautista July 11 calling for the Vatican to halt it’s plans to canonize Junipero Serra, founder of the California Missions. “The true history of what happened here has never been told,” said Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band that organized the day-long event.

Invocations from Day of Prayer Event Oppose Junipero Serra’s Canonization, BenitoLink, July 14, 2015 ChoQosh Auh’Ho’Oh, an descending from three tribes of California Coastal Indians, urged listeners to tell the truth about the horrors of Mission life faced by her ancestors. She was one of a dozen speakers at the event.

Indian Tribes Reflect on Mission Life and Canonization of Serra, LaPrensa San Diego, July 3, 2015 Many Indians at a gathering at Mission San Luis Rey say that while they are practicing Catholics they are strongly opposed to the Pope’s decision to canonize Junipero Serra.

United Nations Meeting Hears Opposition to Sainthood for Junipero Serra (Video) Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band spoke in opposition to the canonization of Fray Junipero Serra during an April, 2015 meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Intervention. View text of remarks


Sainthood for Founder of California Missions Angers Native American Groups, Aljazeera America, May 28, 015 Members of several Native American groups gathered on Easter Sunday at the historic Carmel Mission to protest the proposed canonization of Franciscan priest Junipero Serra, who is buried there. The gathering sought to honor their ancestors who were also buried at the mission nearly 250 years ago after being stripped of their kinship ties, culture and languages.

Junipero Serra Sainthood: Native Americans Protest at Carmel Mission Cemetery on Easter Sunday, Julia Prodis Sulek, San Jose Mercury News, April 5, 2015 As Catholics celebrated Easter Sunday Mass in the packed Carmel Mission, nearly 200 Native Americans crowded into the nearby cemetery to honor their ancestors buried there and to protest the impending sainthood of Junipero Serra, the friar who forced them into servitude.

Native Americans Protest at Carmel Mission Claudia Meléndez Salinas, Monterey Herald, April 5, 2015
Historic Trauma is Real, Valentin Lopez Tells a Symposium at UC Riverside (Video) Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Band, argued against canonizing Junipero Serra at a symposium at UC Riverside on March 13, 2015. “Historic trauma is real and it ties back to mission times,” he said.

Steve Newcomb Discusses The Language of Domination in the Vatican’s Papal Bulls (Video) Steve Newcomb, co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, discusses the translations from Latin of Papal Bulls that directed actions of the Roman Catholic Church in unchristianized countries.

Junipero Serra Sainthood Belies Cruel History, By Elias Castillo Special to the Mercury News, Jan. 23, 2015 In the case of California’s missions, the coastal Indians paid a high price for their interaction with the church. Junipero Serra, who arrived in 1769, created a harsh and unforgiving regimen that would ultimately claim the lives of 62,000 Indians and devastate their civilization, including the extinction of a number of small tribes.

The Emerging Truth about Junipero Serra and the California Missions, By Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, July 2015 “Reading this book (A Cross of Thorns) will set your hair on fire and your third chakra racing while your sense of moral outrage boils over. Yet it is presented in subdued and sober terms, with fact after fact and story after story, building a sure case against the canonizing of Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra.”

Is going gangsta on natives any way to make a saint? If Pope Francis has his way, maybe. MetroAction, San Jose, CA., Feb. 11, 2015 Amidst the controversy over Pope Francis’ plan to elevate Father Junipero Serra to Catholic sainthood this year comes a scholarly magnum opus, A Cross of Thorns, by Peninsula writer Elias Castillo. Based on seven years of research, the book shatters the image of the missions as peaceful refuges for the Indians and will no doubt fuel the debate.

Pope Overlooks “Cultural Genocide” in Canonizing Fr. Junipero Serra, Mark. R. Day, LaPrensa, SanDiego, May 22, 2015 Pope Francis’ confirmation of his plans to canonize Fray Junipero Serra in September has led Serra’s supporters to rejoice, but has ignited strong protests among some Native Californians who reiterate their claim that Serra oppressed their ancestors and was no saint.


Impact of Colonization on the Native California Societies The Journal of San Diego History SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY Winter 1978, Volume 24, Number 1 By Robert Heizer What I propose to discuss here is the theory of the Franciscan mission system, how it actually operated until its termination in 1834, the Indian reaction to the system, and its effects on the native population in cultural, psychological and demographic terms.

The Vatican’s Rhetorical Strategy: Serra Was a Man of His Time Indian Country Today, April 28,2015 By Steve Newcomb How has the Vatican responded to protests and sharp criticism from Indian people in California regarding Pope Francis’s announcement to declare Serra a saint?

To accompany its acknowledgement of Serra’s use of “corporeal punishment” on the Indians of California as an “educational tool” of evangelism, the Vatican has said that Serra was “a man of his time.”

Copyright 2015 Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

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