Volume > Issue > ...And Justice for Some

…And Justice for Some

NEW OXFORD NOTEBOOK

By Pieter Vree | November 2023
Pieter Vree is Editor of the NOR.

Salvatore Cordileone was incensed. As archbishop of San Francisco, he had every right to be. Justice had been miscarried.

To take you back: It was fall 2020, and our nation was experiencing a series of very public convulsions. It was a time of unevenly enforced COVID-19 lockdowns, spikes in mental-health problems, and violent (or “mostly peaceful,” depending on your political persuasion) riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

In those crazy days, any potential symbol of “racism” — whether or not that assessment was historically accurate — was squarely in the crosshairs of the angry mob.

On Columbus Day 2020, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in California, five “activists” (for lack of a better term) desecrated a statue of St. Junípero Serra that stood on the grounds of Mission San Rafael in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. First, they smeared it with red paint. Then, evidently not satisfied with that symbolism, they decided to topple it, leaving only the saint’s mangled feet on the stained-red pedestal.

Their actions were part of a series of attacks on monuments to St. Junípero throughout the Golden State around that time. His statues were toppled in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco), Capitol Park (Sacramento), and the eponymous Serra Park (Los Angeles). Meanwhile, municipalities and school districts were rebranding buildings named after him and removing his statues from their grounds in an attempt to get ahead of the vandalism. The anger animating the destruction was not necessarily directed at St. Junípero himself but at what he allegedly represented in the public’s eye: violence toward and abuse of Native Americans in the name of “Manifest Destiny.” As Serra’s name is synonymous with the California mission system, he became the figurehead for these abuses.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

The Catholic Connection

If interreligious connectedness is not recognized and cherished at a time when religion itself is imperiled, we are in a bad way.

Did William Shakespeare Predict Donald Trump?

Contemporary scholars are so anti-religious, or a-religious, that they block out the huge role religion played in the past.

Beyond the Reefs of Roast Beef

Among the industrial nations of the West, only the U.S. has had no democratic socialist par­ty of national significance, nor a party to speak for the labor move­ment.