1492 and all that

This being the canonical Columbus Day — a pox on Monday holidays, or at least the ones on which I have to work — it seems like a reasonable time to mention that a century ago, Chris C. himself was not only not thought of as a despoiler of worlds, but was actually being pushed for inclusion in the Calendar of Saints. From The New York Times, 31 October 1909:

Patrick John Ryan, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and the Knights of Columbus have petitioned the Pope to canonize Christopher Columbus, according to a report from Rome, but “a distinguished prelate of the Congregation of Rites” is quoted as declaring that the petitioners are unlikely to obtain satisfaction. “Too many weaknesses,” he said, “marred the life of Columbus for canonization to be possible.” This view is not shared by all. From Spain and Italy as well as from the United States have come requests that the process be begun here.

Uncertainty about where Columbus was born is a problem, because “the first step in the process of canonization has to be taken by the Bishop of the diocese to which the possible saint belonged.” Many places claim the nativity of Columbus, including Genoa, Savona and Montserrat.

The Times didn’t mention all the “weaknesses” cited, but Columbus’ participation in the encomienda surely didn’t count in his favor.

That said, enough of the movement persists today to support a Facebook page.

(Via Pentimento.)

1 comment

  1. Charles Pergiel »

    13 October 2011 · 12:55 am

    Dang big words: canonical indeed. I think it means in order. From context I deduce that somebody changed the day it is celebrated, if you can call it that.

    Next somebody wants to know where he was born. Do you want to know where he was born, or do you want to know who his bishop was? Likely the two are related, but not necessarily.

    And the whole slavery thing. Slavery has been around forever. Are we saying that none of the other saints ever owned any slaves? And wasn’t Columbus a good Catholic? And didn’t the church benefit mightily from Spain’s exploits in the New World? I know, I know. Michael Corleone got shafted as well.

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