Good day dear sisters and brothers;
Some of you know, even remember, that our Little Portion Fraternity arose from the ashes of a fraternity named Brother Juniper. He was canonized by Pope Francis as San Junipero Serra in Spanish. This was opposed by many indigenous who felt he had not done enough to protect them from abuse by Spanish colonists. That is why some of his statues have been pulled down in California recently in the widening of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A bronze statue of Saint Junipero Serra by sculptor Arthur Putnam stands on the grounds of the Presidio Hill in San Diego. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
They wrote it is necessary to [and let me quote a few lines]:
"discern carefully the entire contribution that the historical figure in question made to American life, especially in advancing the rights of marginalized peoples. In calling for the removal of images of Saint Junipero Serra from public display in California, and in tearing down his statue in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, protesters have failed that test. … St. Serra made heroic sacrifices to protect the indigenous people of California from their Spanish conquerors, especially the soldiers. Even with his infirmed leg which caused him such pain, he walked all the way to Mexico City to obtain special faculties of governance from the Viceroy of Spain in order to discipline the military who were abusing the Indians. And then he walked back to California. ...The historical truth is that Serra repeatedly pressed the Spanish authorities for better treatment of the Native American communities. Serra was not simply a man of his times. In working with Native Americans, he was a man ahead of his times who made great sacrifices to defend and serve the indigenous population and work against an oppression that extends far beyond the mission era. And if that is not enough to legitimate a public statue in the state that he did so much to create, then virtually every historical figure from our nation's past will have to be removed for their failings measured in the light of today's standards.”
As a Brit this puts me in mind of Sir Winston Churchill whose statues have been vandalized in some places. He was at times an undoubted racist but he also led the Brits and allies tenaciously against the biggest racists of his time - Hitler's Nazis.
Peace and joy, Andrew, ofs