VIDEO: San Francisco Archbishop Performs Exorcism For Toppled Statue

Megan Goldsby
June 30, 2020 - 5:32 pm
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    The Archbishop of San Francisco performed exorcism rites at the spot where a statue of Junipero Serra once stood in Golden Gate Park before it was torn down by protestors earlier this month.

    Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone sprinkled holy water around the base of the statue at Golden Gate Park - the only part left - in a ceremony that the archdiocese posted to YouTube.

    "So we came together to pray the rosary and then to offer the prayer of exorcism, the St. Michael prayer, because evil is present here, this is the activity of the evil one," Cordileone said in the video, referring to the protesters who tore down the figure.

    In all, three statues of controversial figures were torn down by a large group of protesters on June 19, including Serra, along with figures in the likeness of Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant.

    The archbishop went on to say that Serra was a great protector of native people and that the people who protest him now are ignorant of his history.

    Not everyone agrees with that assessment, however.

    Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, said what’s taught in schools about the California history of the Mission system, which was led by Serra, is influenced by the Catholic Church.

    "The alibi that the Indians came voluntarily, they did not," Lopez said. "That the Indians came to find a better life, learn agriculture, to find God, they did not."

    He said instead indigenous people were forced to convert to Christianity or be murdered.

    "The destruction and domination never ended, it just continues and evolved to the words he spoke that day as a continuation to vilify our spirituality," Lopez said.

    Lopez himself was raised Catholic and even recruited to be a priest.

    He told KCBS Radio the church should follow its own teachings and atone for what leaders like Serra did. A good start, Lopez believes, perhaps replacing the broken Serra statue with something that honors native people.