Monterey city council will see about that “church- state situation,” may send letter to pope

Opposing councilman: Who are are we to tell the pope who he should consider for his decision?
Councilwoman Libby Downey

Councilwoman Libby Downey wants to send a letter to Pope Francis asking him not to make Junipero “Sierra” (sic) a saint

The following comes from a May 27 KSBW news story by Caitlin Conrad:

At least one Monterey City Council member wants to send the pope a letter urging him not to declare Father Junipero Serra a saint.
“I would like to propose that we send a letter to the pope and question his plan to make father Sierra (sic) a saint,” councilwoman Libby Downey said.

Downey brought up her idea after a resident, Nina Beatty addressed the council during public comments, and spoke about the controversy surrounding Serra’s legacy.

Beatty cited allegations that Native Americans were mistreated prisoners at the Carmel Mission.

VIDEO: Monterey city councilwoman opposes canonizing Junipero Serra

“We need to change Monterey to a place that remembers its horrible, horrible history and bring that into the light, rather than celebrating it,” Beatty said when addressing the council.

Later during the session Downey gave weight to Beatty’s comments.

Nina Beatty cited allegations that Native Americans were mistreated prisoners at the Carmel Mission at the Monterey city council meeting

Nina Beatty cited allegations that Native Americans were mistreated prisoners at the Carmel Mission at the Monterey city council meeting

“I would like to say that Nina Beatty is totally correct, having taken a California history course from Dr. Krezerian who is tops in his field, Father Sierra (sic) did not treat those Indians the way he should have,” Downey said.

Downey now plans to get her proposal put on the City Council’s agenda so leaders can weigh in and make it part of the public discussion.

“I’ve had lot of constituents show lots of concern about Father Sierra (sic) becoming a saint,” she explained as her reasoning for the discussion.

Not everyone on the council is in agreement with Downey.

City councilman Ed Smith is adamantly against the idea of sending a letter.

City councilman Ed Smith says it is not the purpose

City councilman Ed Smith says it is not the place of city government to get involved with church affairs because it violates the separation between church and state.

“Who are are we to tell the pope who he should consider for his decision,” Smith said. He said it is not the place of city government to get involved with church affairs because it violates the separation between church and state.

“I don’t see that as our purpose,” he said about sending a letter to the Pope Francis.

Downey plans to bring the item up at next Tuesday’s meeting to get it on a future agenda.

“I will make a request for an agenda item to discuss this issue to see if we want to send a letter or whether we want to completely keep out of it because of the church-state situatio,” she said.

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  1. I am all in favor of the Monterey City Council sending a letter to Pope Francis regarding the canonization of Friar Junipero Serra, if the City is open to receiving a letter from Pope Francis regarding Monterey’s deplorable treatment of the homeless and poor, and the availability of pornography to children within the city limits!

  2. Anne T. says:

    First of all this woman needs to learn to pronounce Fr. Serra’s name correctly. It is “Serra” not “Sierra”. I doubt she was even born in California.

    • Anne T. says:

      I was referring to Libby Downey.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      I know, right? I’m not enough of a historian to know whether Serra is a saint or a sinner, or both, but the idea that an arm of city government thinks it can weigh in on a canonization proceeding is pretty appalling.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When are people going to start asking for Documentation, rather than taking the personal opinions (which mean nothing) of anyone ?

    Stop the arguing, and provide documentation.

  4. They must have very little to do – with their huge egos. Don’t they teach students to view History in the context of the time period ? Judging Fr. Serra by this century’s ideas shows them to be fools.

  5. St. Christopher says:

    “Ed Smith” is correct: the City Council has no business advising the Pope of his decision to canonize the great Fr. Serra.

    Why not next advise the Pope of the Church’s (supposed) errors in its beliefs about homosexual sex, and divorce, and contraception, and a male-only priesthood?

    But, this might well happen, as the United States of Satan is born.

  6. John Patrick says:

    Guess some persons never heard of the I Amendment or freedom of religion.

  7. John Feeney says:

    “Things keep getting curiouser and curiouser!”

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I say let them send a letter to the Holy Father as the ‘Prominent Catholics’ did in regards to AB Cordileone…….and let’s see his Holiness’ response in regards to Father Serra!

    It didn’t turn out too good for those ‘Prominent Catholics’ as an article on this site states just recently what the Holy Father said about educators in Catholic schools! 🙂

  9. Perhaps Ms. Downey would benefit from reading the recent article posted here on CalCatholic featuring Ruben Mendoza’s historical take on the truth regarding Fr. Serra: http://cal-catholic.com/?p=17788

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