Father Junipero Serra: Man of progress, controversy
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol comprises statues donated by each state to honor persons notable in their history. Father Junipero Serra is one of California's two representatives in this collection. If Father Serra's selection in 1931 was controversial, the storm was a gentle gust compared to the gale brewing after Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1988, the second of three steps necessary for sainthood. Academics and American Indians vigorously protested, claiming that Father Serra was responsible for the destruction and humiliation of the native population.