Sam Campbell: Catholic Church continues to celebrate genocide

Pope Francis and members of Congress view a statue of Juniperro Serra in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Photo from Rep. Steve Scalise / Facebook

Ohlone College student Sam Campbell questions the decision by Pope Francis to bestow sainthood upon Junipero Serra, who was the founder of the brutal Indian mission system in California:
The missions – including Mission San Jose, just down the street from Ohlone College – were built in order to begin colonization in the new region. But one of the main reasons was to take the opportunity to educate and convert the indigenous people. In the Catholic religion, spreading the word of God is just as important as believing in God yourself. Being able to come to an “untouched” place, and to be able to save the souls of all these “uncivilized” people, was a huge gift.

Quickly, the indigenous people were rounded up and forced onto the missions as slaves, where they were taught Spanish, taught how to read and write, and taught about God. They were forced to cut their hair and forget their native tongue. They were completely stripped of any identity that had shaped their people.

Pope Francis’ decision to make Junipero Serra a saint provides justification for the Church’s enslavement and genocide of an indigenous people.

The title of saint means that the person has made it to heaven, and the Church recognizes certain people in order to recognize the type of life a person should lead.

If the Church thinks that dedicating your whole life to assimilating a culture through violence, erasure and genocide is a good idea, then they’re on the right track.

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Sam Campbell: Serra’s canonization justifies enslavement (The Ohlone Monitor 10/1)

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