Statues of recently canonized Junipero Serra vandalized

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The saint is safely dead, and has been for quite some time. It’s the people who think that his glorious good works deserve canonization who are still around. I’d watch out for them; and factor that into my judgement of them.


Is this a matter of the truth being whitewashed? Or is it more of a story with two sides?

People like Junipero Serra’s mission was to spread religion at the same time they were claiming land for Spain. They were not known to be particularly vicious conquerors as later armed incursions proved to be but they were clearly disruptive to the way of life of native people.

In Mexico, they have a generally good reputation, due in part I’m sure to the fact that they were succesful in spreading Catholicism (Through military force of course), but also because when the natives rose up against Spain, they sided with the people in their communities.

As to Genocide? Seems an extreme charge to me. Certainly, when the next wave of white men came to California, they were much more vicious, though the missionaries did indeed pave the way.

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There’s some definite whitewashing action in the curriculum surrounding the missions(just as my good, solid, New England, elementary schooling featured…atypically harmonious ‘pilgrim’/‘indian’ interactions and a well justified revolutionary war against a dreadfully tyrannical King George that definitely didn’t involve a lot of fairly brutal…persuasion…of loyalist elements to run like hell for Canada); but there’s also a fairly basic fundamental disagreement:

If you are the pope, it’s pretty much your job to believe that Catholicism is the path to salvation, and salvation is pretty serious business, so it isn’t at all inconsistent to canonize somebody who went to a lot of trouble and hardship saving souls among the heathens; which I understand that Serra did.

If you aren’t the pope, and especially if you substantially disagree with him on those points of metaphysics, the side effects of missionary activity are a whole lot more serious; the upsides less self-evident; and the downsides a lot more obvious. I don’t think that anyone would advance the claim that Serra was particularly close to being the nastiest character allegedly doing god’s work in the region; but when your objective is to evangelize the natives, substantially disrupting their culture is right in the mission statement, so to speak.


Yeah, leaving aside the slavery, rape, torture and mass murder, the missionaries were real sweet-hearts. It sounds like you’ve been reading the whitewashed version of the California missions.

Not even being whitewashed so much - the church has made statements that seemed to be to the effect that just because someone was a horrible human being who did horrendous things, that doesn’t preclude them from being a saint. I confess to being a bit confused about what constitutes a saint, exactly…


Ugh. Growing up in California, the standard issue generic field trip was to go visit a mission.

“Oh, you’ve already been to the San Jose Mission? This time we are going to the SANTA CLARA MISSION. Boom. Be excited kid. Oh, already been there? This year: SAN JUAN BAUTISTA!”

The standard 4th grade history curriculum contains a huge module on missions. The stupid “mission report” and “build a model of a mission” is a rite of passage for Californian children: invariably built of painted sugar cubes thoroughly doused with RAID to keep the ants/kids from consuming it.

In my adulthood I spun by a Michaels and discovered (not without a little PTSD) an entire “Mission Project aisle”, full of scale crucifixes, bells, monks etc. that the over achieving parents could purchase when they built the project for their kid. I checked for minis representing oppressed and tortured indigenous peoples with no luck.

Fuck Junipero Serra.


Hmm… I was under the impression that, as more or less everywhere else in the Spanish Americas, the missions sucked less than the alternatives, and the rapes, torture and mass murders happened outside them.

Normally the missions sided more with the rights of the natives (which did not include the right not to be converted, of course) than the settlers who considered the whole point of settling to have slaves for their plantations.


Just to be clear - I’m sure they sucked a lot, and that conversion was … well, not a journey of spiritual discovery with the natives freely adopting Catholicism if they wished, so to say.

But well, living in Spain, I’m sure we whitewash that a lot

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It’s always sad when a grave is vandalized. People need to construct their own reality, not lay blame on people dead hundreds of years.

There wasn’t any real European interest in California for the longest time, so it was all mission settlements; that means all the shit being done by the Spanish there was being done entirely within the context of the missions. Enslaving (and raping) the local population to work at the missions, torturing and mass-murdering the local population when they tried to reject slavery, etc.


If it did they’d have to toss 90% of the saints who were actual historical people.

A must have for Dismaland’s California Adventure Park.

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Let’s discuss the real scandal here: Pope Francis “fast tracked” the canonization and waived the requirement for proof of two miracles. What the (holy) fudge is going on? I’d be excited about seeing “proof” of just one “miracle”! I know (about) a guy who would give $1M for such proof…


Someone who converted a bunch of people before he killed them, thereby saving their immortal souls.

In south america, the reducciones were straight up slavery and genocide, and California was only minimally better, if that.

Clastres had a lot of interesting stuff to say about the reucciones in “La Société contre l’État.”

For what I was told when I was studying, the reducciones were better than the encomiendas, who… well, were very shitty.

Seems they forgot to mention that not as shitty as doesnt mean good :confused:

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They should really stick to the fictional saints - it’s much safer. But not all the real saints were monsters. Fucked-up self-abusers, but not necessarily so terrible to other people.

“Sure, they were monsters, but they were our monsters”?


I figured they were covered by the other 10%…

Oh, I figured the 10% were just the imaginary ones…