MORE than a thousand people have already signed the petition to stop the canonisation of Mallorca-born friar Junipero Serra Ferrer.
It was recently reported that Pope Francis announced during a press conference he gave while on a flight to Manila, that he would canonise Serra in September, in an arranged trip to Philadelphia where he is to participate in the Eighth World Meeting of Families.
The Friar, who founded several churches throughout California, was born in Petra in 1713 and died in Monterey (US) in 1784.
The Pope’s decision to canonise him has been met with the complaints of residents in the United States as well as many citizens of Mallorca.
The reasons behind the dissatisfaction are reflected on the petition’s text, which reads:
“Pope Francis is coming to Washington, D.C., 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.”
A group of indigenous Californians, presided by Andrew Salas, have also requested the Pope to stop the Friar’s canonisation in a letter as they claimed their ancestors were used as slaves and associate Junipero’s memory with their oppression and torture.
The complete text can be found at http://www.petitions.moveon.org/sign/urge-pope-francis-to/.