Junipero Serra Statue Decapitated at Lower Presidio Park

... Meanwhile in Monterey, California. Photo from Twitter.

Meanwhile,  in Monterey, California…     Photo from Twitter.

Published October 17, 2015

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA—Police in Monterey, California are looking for the individual(s) responsible for decapitating the Junipero Serra granite statue at Lower Presidio Historic Park sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

The statue’s head has not been recovered. Monterey historian Dennis Copeland told a local newspaper “the entire park was swept for the head, but it has not turned up.”

The vandalism is the third such act on a Serra statue since Junipero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis in September 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. during his United States visit. Two weeks ago, a statue of Serra was painted green at the nearby Carmel Mission, where Serra is entombed.  Another Serra statue in Carmel was toppled within days of the first incident.

Law enforcement officers are attempting to determine if the three vandalism acts were committed by the same individual(s).

Serra, who established the Catholic mission system in California, is controversial among American Indians, who opposed Pope Francis canonizing him. They opposed Serra’s canonization because under his Catholic mission system, American Indians were whipped and beaten – even fatally.

Admitting to the violence perpetrated on American Indians, Serra wrote:

“I am willing to admit that in the infliction of [flogging], there may have been inequalities and excesses committed on the part of the some of the priests, and that we are all exposed to err in that regard.”

The Serra statue has been at Lower Presidio Historic Park since 1891.

Officials said even if they cannot recover the statue’s head, it can be repaired, but it will be costly.

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