Pope Francis To Canonize A Controversial Spanish Friar
Pope Francis will canonize a controversial Spanish friar, Junipero Serra, responsible for the evangelization of California.By Mari Jo Valero | September 11, 2015
Were the Spanish evangelists who came to America to convert Native Americans Christian saints or colonialist villains? This is the controversy Pope Francis will face during his visit to the U.S. starting Sept. 22.
The pope will be canonizing Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan friar from the 1700s. Serra is responsible for converting Native Americans in what's now California.
But Serra's legacy is polarizing. Some see him as a proclaimer of the Gospel, while others view him as a villain who forced the teaching of the church on Native Americans.