Father Serra's Role In The California Mission System

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The narrative from the Vatican surrounding the canonization of Father Serra inadvertently dismisses the negative impact the California Mission system had on the various native tribes in California. The Spanish colonization of California subsequently led to countless atrocities committed against the Native population in order to successfully control the region. One of the primary objectives of the Spanish was to convert the native populations to Christianity and ultimately control their way of life. This makes the Vatican’s effort to expedite Serra’s canonization particularly deplorable for the same Church that apologised to Native Americans for the actions of the Catholic church during the colonization of the Americas. Ultimately, Father Serra …show more content…

In addition, they were also established with intention to “hispanicize” the Natives so they could eventually become loyal subject to the Spanish Crown. However, converting the natives to Catholicism was largely a failure, and the practices in the Mission were deplorable at best. Many of the Natives were forced into the missions, while also suffering abuses such as rapes and floggings at the hand of the Spanish soldiers. Furthermore, the Missions also required the Natives to labour in conditions that were only comparable to slavery. All of these human rights abuses combined with exposure to European diseases makes Father Serra’s particularly insulting to the descendants of California’s Native …show more content…

While it was clear that Serra did not personally assault the Natives as Hernan Cortes or Christopher Columbus had done, he did support the deplorable living conditions of Mission Indians. For instance, Serra was in favor of punishing Neophytes who escaped the Mission with floggings. This shows that, Serra expected the converts to endure their enslavement within the California Mission system. Nonetheless, Serra’s disagreements with the Spanish military does not justify his willingness to practically enslave the Native

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