Questioning The Troubled Legacy Of The Catholic Church’s Missions

By MATT HARPER

As the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese began a Jubilee Year to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Gabriel Arcàngel, a small contingent of Catholic Workers and supporters participated in vigils at Mission San Gabriel and at the Cathedral to ask questions, and listen to other Catholics who hold the complexity of the Church’s Mission history, and to invite other people of faith into a journey towards a more nuanced understanding of our troubled Mission legacy.

Would you like to be a part of expanding your understanding of the Missions? Do you know Catholics committed to the work of justice and healing? If so, please e-mail us at: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: https://www.lacatholicworker.org/wp/2021/09/13/questioning-the-troubled-legacy-of-the-catholic-churchs-missions/

1 comment

    • Claire Marie-Peterson on October 8, 2021 at 10:06 am
    • Reply

    Yes, I would like to be a part of a fuller understanding of the California missions of the 18th century. I especially appreciate the approach of listening to others–Catholics, Indigenous people, other Christians, people of other faiths, and people of no faith–to conscientiously acknowledge the complexity of mission history. I reject the romantic vision of the missions that was taught in my Catholic elementary school; I am not, however, prepared to throw out the entire 18th-century mission enterprise as wholly colonialist, manipulative, abusive, genocidal. I believe that reckoning with the unintentional–and sometimes intentional–evils of the first Christian missionaries to what is now California can serve as a corrective, not only to Christians seeking to take up the great commission to make disciples–not good Spaniards, not Western democracies–of all nations, but also to all people of conscience hoping to enlist others to what they understand to be the way of truth and justice. It’s about being honest with ourselves and staying in communication with our kin on this planet that we all share.

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