Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bishop apologizes to Miwok tribe for church's past mistreatment

A Roman Catholic bishop's apology for cruelties the church committed against Indian tribes in the past caught a group of Miwok Indians by surprise, and moved some to tears.

Retired Bishop Francis A. Quinn used a mass at the Church of St. Raphael on Dec. 15, as an opportunity to apologize to the Miwok Indians for the church's mistreatment two centuries ago. Miwok Indians once occupied the lands from the Golden Gate to north of Bodega Bay.

The mass was held to commemorate the 190th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Rafael Arcangel. The Indians helped Spanish priests build and maintain the mission in 1817.

But the bishop conceded they were repaid by church authorities with the destruction of their own spiritual practices and cruel punishment for any disobedience.

Greg Sarris, head of the Miwok tribal council, officially called the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, called Quinn's remarks historic.

"I have not heard of this happening anywhere else in this country," he said.

Many Indians whose ancestors were converted to Catholicism are still smarting from the church's past mistreatment and appreciated the gesture, Sarris said.

After the mass, he spoke to other attendees gathered in the church school's gymnasium.

"With the permission of my people, I accept your apology" Sarris told the bishop.

Teri Brunner, curator of the mission museum, said, "It was magical to have priests and Miwoks together again, in a peaceful setting, celebrating and honoring one another."


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

No comments: