Monday, October 10, 2011

Saint Columbus

Did you know that, in the last half of the nineteenth century, the cause for canonization of Christopher Columbus was opened? I didn't know this until just the other day, when my father told me. Evidently the effort stalled out before too long; not only could Colubmus's birthplace not be ascertained, but he was also a slave-owner, which was problematic for the Vatican even a hundred years ago. 

Nevertheless, if you search Facebook, you'll find a page dedicatd to supporting his canonization. Somehow I doubt they'll get much traction.


Anne-Marie said...

In the days when American history began with "Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492," my father lived in New Haven, which as you may know has a large Italian-American population. Yale published a book claiming that Brendan had landed in North America a thousand years earlier, and released it on Columbus Day-- to near riots.

ElizabethK said...

Huh! I was thinking,earlier today, that I'm kind of sad about the loss of Columbus Day (although I guess it's not a total loss, as some do still get it as a holiday). It's such a great opportunity to talk about contact, and the beginning of globalization--and like it or not, it's our history. So, yes, I think we will not be seeing a groundswell of support for Columbus' canonization anytime soon. But I'm saddened by what feels like an erasure of history, and an unwillingness to engage in complexity, in our country.

Pentimento said...

I did not know that, Anne-Marie, though I did grow up hearing about anti-Italian bias in the Ivy League. My father also told me that in the 1970s there was a front-page article in the New York Times stating that the Norsemen had discovered America before Columbus, and that it was later retracted, and the retraction appeared on page A22 or someplace similar (I haven't attempted to verify this).