For the past few months I have been looking forward to being the spiritual director for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, including 2-3 days in Egypt. Our plan has been to go there in mid to late October in part to being a bit cooler than July and August but also before the late fall rainy season. Anyway, with this year’s COVID-19 concerns and continued restrictions for access into the airports, we will need to postpone that journey. We have rescheduled the pilgrimage to June 14th – 25th, 2021, basically a year from now. The tour director said that we should be able to see some of the beauty of the end of spring and he is hoping that a vaccine would be developed and available by then as well.
We’ve heard and seen recent suggestions that the city of Columbus should change its name away from any association with Christopher Columbus. What about his history?
“The dominant picture holds him responsible for everything that went wrong in the New World,” wrote Carol Delaney, a former professor at Stanford and Brown universities, in her book Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (2011). In a 2012 Columbia interview [that’s the monthly magazine of the Knights of Columbus], Delaney further explained that Columbus found the native peoples to be “very intelligent” and his relations with them “tended to be benign.” He gave strict instructions to the settlers to “treat the native people with respect,” though some of his men rebelled and disobeyed his orders, particularly during his long absences, Delaney added. And, Columbus’ desire to save souls was the passion that “led him on a great adventure, an encounter such as the world has never seen.”
The writings of Bartolomé de las Casas — a 16th-century Spanish Dominican priest, historian and missionary — exposing the abuse of the native peoples are often cited in an effort to impugn Columbus. But while de las Casas lamented the suffering of indigenous people, he also admired and respected Columbus for his “sweetness and benignity” of character, his deep faith and his accomplishments. In his History of the Indies, de las Casas wrote, “Truly, I would not dare blame the admiral’s intentions, for I knew him well and I know his intentions are good.”
Additional information – history, articles, videos – can be found at www.truthaboutcolumbus.com and at the Knights of Columbus website at http://www.kofc.org/en/news/releases/honoring-our-namesake.html.
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!