SAN FRANCISCO – When Gov. Jerry Brown was asked Thursday about Pope Francis’ plans to canonize the Junípero Serra, the governor at first demurred, calling the matter “well within the jurisdiction of the papacy.”
But his reluctance was short-lived.
“I can’t help but add some comment,” he said.
Brown called Serra, who founded nine of California’s Spanish missions before dying in 1784, “a very courageous man, and one of the innovators and pioneers of California.”
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In an apparent acknowledgment of the controversy surrounding Serra and the impact of Spanish missions on Native Americans, Brown said, “There’s been a lot of tragedy, there’s been a lot of suffering, there’s been a lot of prejudice and a lot of misunderstanding on all sides relating to not just native peoples, but African Americans, Chinese, you just name it.”
Then Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, added, “And yet through it all California has prospered. So this is the subtle point that sometimes is hard to understand – that tragedy and good and evil often inhere in the same situation. And that doesn’t mean we won’t have our saints. It’s just that we have to understand that saints, like everybody else, are not perfect.”
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.