Is The Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? Part IV – A Little Bit of History

The conquest of Alaska by Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Missionaries is not a good saga for Alaska Natives.  Since the first Russians landed in the area, Native peoples have been enslaved, raped, killed, and stripped of almost their entire cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, things have changed very little in the Diocese of Fairbanks.

Let’s have a little history lesson.

Alaskana Catholica, a hulking book by Louis Renner, is considered by many to be the “definitive book” on the Catholics in Alaska.  In fact, it is even for sale in the Diocese of Fairbanks online store. Written in the style of an encyclopedia, the book is considered the crown jewel of the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Northwest Jesuits.

… And it has some doozy quotes that show how much those priests hated the locals.

Are the quotes below evidence that the Diocese of Fairbanks is racist now? No, not exactly. What they do show is that the “business as usual” policies of the Diocese (and the Jesuits who were assigned there) reflected the notion that they all believed that the Alaska Natives were less than human.

Offering the victims $5500 is just another manifestation of that policy.

Here are some quotes:

From pages 364 and 365 – from the entry on about the Village of Kotzebue

House diary entries made by different priests create a rather interesting chiaroscuro mosaic: “The village is the most rotten I know in Alaska…our little flock are in the main faithful…this pagan town…there is much good will on the part of the whites…Sometimes I think we made a big mistake in coming here…very good attendance…Kotzebue has been a sort of a trial…church packed.”

It goes on – this little gem is written by well-known perpetrator Segundo Llorente, who has been accused of molesting at least 10 children (I added the bold):

Summarizing his 3 yr. tenure in Kotzebue, Fr. Llorente wrote: “After three years of failure, I leave Kotzebue.  Three things kept me from going insane: the tabernacle, the typewriter, and the catechism children.  Thanks to these three I live happy and busy.  The town is such as to freeze the ardor of St. Paul.”  His final entry in the diary reads: “The priest who keeps his smile in this town and goes on with zeal and courage deserves to be canonized at once without any other miracles bearing evidence on the matter.”

Hmmm … so molesting “heathen” boys is a part of the sainthood fast track?

Here’s another good one – from a letter by Fr. Loysius J. Bobaut to his Jesuit provincial.  A copy was sent to the Bishop of Fairbanks:

“In my judgment nothing, or rather nothing good, has been accomplished here in the spiritual line except baptizing the people, whilst the damage done to the Indians [sic] in the same spiritual line is very great.  They are now so indifferent, careless and also averse to religion, that, without a miracle, or a very saintly missionary, I see no chance whatever of ever succeeding to make good, practical Christians out of these people around us.” …the people “are all plunged into superstitions from the sole of their feet even to the top of their head.  It is simply impossible for the father to do anything solid, especially if you add to it the incredible difficulties, hardships, suffering and dangers, even of life, and the excessive expenses, which the winter traveling in this country is fraught with.”

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  Need more?  You can look at the book yourself in a university library – just don’t buy it.

Published in: on November 7, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This explains why the Native Communities call these priests / monks / brothers: “FALSE SPIRITUAL HEALERS” or “SPOOKS” for short.

    Who were the “PAGANS” ?

  2. Was it not the Jesuits who bragged that if given a child at the age of seven, that child would be a [Catholic] for life? Same old song and dance, same old smoke and mirrors, same old hypocrites.

  3. after reading some of the articles on the bishop accountability abuse tracker today

    am convinced that there is not a place on earth unscathed by the arrogance and take over tactics of the roman catholic church/priesthood/jesuits.. and all other orders..
    People are speaking out wanting justice and acccountability..the church and its perps speak out and want us to “forget about it”..
    I’m going with the people who speak truth and want justice and accountability
    It appears to me the catholic church machine has become a perpetrator (maybe always was)
    The great soap opera of lies needs to end.

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