Saturday, the Archbishop of San Francisco performed an exorcism in San Rafael to cleanse the protest area where the St. Junipero Serra statue was reduced to nothing but its feet on Monday.
Welcome to 2020: where we show more humanity toward inanimate, fallen objects and slabs of concrete than we do actual humans society has renounced altogether.
As reported by KRON4, the exorcism — which can be watched on YouTube — was conducted by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone Saturday afternoon. The archbishop was apparently planning to pray with "40 Days for Life" and then after the vandalization of the St. Junipero Serra statue at St. Raphael, he took it upon himself to hold an exorcism where the statue was taken down by protesters earlier in the week.
SFGate adds that the ritual was performed before some 150 supporters; a special Mass dedicated to the exorcism was then held inside the St. Raphael Catholic Church.
Statues erected honoring Serra have been subjected to widespread protest and vandalization over the years. And when Pope Francis elevated him to sainthood in 2015, it rehashed certain controversial stances on the now-saint, especially among Indigenous People.
In 1769, Serra founded the Mission of San Diego, the first of nine missions in California, and he traveled as far up as the SF Bay region. However, the settlements he helped both find and establish pushed Indigenous People off their lands.
The Guardian, too, describes that these missions quickly became hotbeds for diseases that were alien to the immune systems of the area's Native American populations. Within the ensuing decades, it's estimated hundreds of thousands of Indigenous lives were lost to "European diseases."
Serra's missions also drained native culture from the places they were set up in; "the converted" were taught to farm and adopt more disciplined styles of community that removed them from their inherent cultures and forced them to adopt new, more European norms; public floggings (and rape) were common in these missions.
So, ironically: yesterday's exorcism to cleanse the protest site of the netherworld spirits was perhaps misguided.
Nevertheless, the religious act was carried out without hiccup. ABC News reports that Cordileone said prayers in Latin at the happening, adding “the experts in the field tell me that Latin tends to be more effective against the devil because he doesn’t like the language of the church.”
Earlier in the week, San Rafael police said they arrested five people on vandalism charges for knocking over the statue on Monday — leaving only the feet attached to the base of it. The statue is being repaired and will be returned within the coming weeks.
Image: Facebook via SF Archdiocese-Human Life & Dignity