Friday, July 17, 2020

Saint Junípero Serra

"Let me address the ridiculous side first. To state it bluntly, Junípero Serra is being used as a convenient scapegoat and whipping boy for certain abuses inherent to eighteenth-century Spanish colonialism. Were such abuses real? Of course. But was Fr. Serra personally responsible for them? Of course not. I won’t deny for a moment that Serra probably engaged in certain disciplinary practices that we would rightfully regard as morally questionable, but the overwhelming evidence suggests that he was a great friend to the native peoples; that he sought, time and again, to protect them from mistreatment by civil authorities; and that he presided over missions where the indigenous were taught useful skills and were introduced to the Christian faith. To suggest, as did some of those who were petitioning for the removal of his statue, that Serra was the moral equivalent of Hitler and his missions the moral equivalent of concentration camps is nothing short of defamatory."

- Bishop Robert Barron