Pope to canonise Balearics-born friar despite genocide accusations

Flickr by Wally Gobetz

Junipero Serra: his statue in Santa Barbara (US)

POPE FRANCIS has given the green light to the canonisation decree of Mallorca-born friar Junipero Serra Ferrar, despite complaints voiced by indigenous Californians and Mallorca citizens.
Back in January, a petition was released asking the Pope to reconsider his decision to canonise Junipero Serra, saying:
“Pope Francis is coming to Washington, DC, to canonise Junipero Serra as a saint. It is imperative he is enlightened to understand that Father Serra was responsible for the deception, exploitation, oppression, enslavement and genocide of thousands of indigenous Californians, ultimately resulting in the largest ethnic cleansing in North America.”
The petition, which can be found at www.petitions.moveon.org/sign/urge-pope-francis-to, has currently been signed by almost 6,000 people, from the United States, Spain and other countries.
Junipero Serra was born in Petra in 1713 and founded several churches throughout California, where he died in 1784, being titled popularly as the Apostle of California.
He is to become the first Hispanic saint of the United States and he is the only non-North American figure with a statue in the United States Capitol.
The canonising event is to take place on September 23 in Washington.

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