Steven Newcomb: Pope in denial about genocide of our peoples

Pope Francis, center, with indigenous youth and President Evo Morales in Bolivia. Photo by L'Osservatore Romano / Facebook

Steven Newcomb of the Indigenous Law Institute previews the upcoming trip to Turtle Island by Pope Francis in which he is expected to bestow sainthood upon Junipero Serra, the founder of the brutal Indian mission system in California:
This September, Pope Francis is coming to Great Turtle Island (“North America”). Francis is the successor of Pope Alexander VI, who issued a number of papal edicts in 1493, documents that provide a historical context for Pope Francis’ visit to the territory of the Piskataway Nation (Washington, D.C.), and then to the territory of the Lenape Nation (New York City and Philadelphia).

Pope Francis will deliver a mass at the National Cathedral. While there, he is expected to finalize sainthood for the eighteenth century Franciscan Missionary Junipero Serra, whom Pope Francis has called “the Evangelizer of the West.” When he finalizes canonization for Serra, Pope Francis will thereby give a gloss of sanctity to what his predecessor, Pope Alexander VI, called in his edicts “the propagation of the Christian empire,” and “a sacred and praiseworthy purpose in the Lord,” which was to subjugate, subject and reduce non-Christian lands and islands, and their inhabitants to the Catholic faith.

The Holy See is in denial. It is not interpreting Serra’s life in association with Pope Alexander VI’s expressed desire “to subjugate barbarous nations,” and to spread the Christian empire by the expansion of Spanish Catholic domination. The Holy See is carefully avoiding its own “sacred and praiseworthy” purpose of dominio and “dominorum Christianorum,” by means of the subjection of the original nations of the continent. It does not want to acknowledge that the consequence of the edicts of the Holy See of the fifteenth century was death, destruction, and dehumanization for original nations and peoples of Baja and Alta California, and elsewhere throughout the western hemisphere. By holding fast to such denial, the Holy See will no doubt continue to associate sanctity and sainthood with the mission system of domination (“dominio”) advanced by Junipero Serra.

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: ‘A Sacred and Praiseworthy Purpose’ (Indian Country Today 8/21)

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