California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Friday to replace a statue of St. Junípero Serra at the state Capitol with a monument to the state’s indigenous peoples.  

Newsom’s signature Sept. 24 was widely expected after Assembly Bill 338 (AB 338) was passed with almost unanimous approval by legislators in both of the state’s chambers. The statue of the Catholic saint, canonized by Pope Francis in 2015, had stood in Sacramento’s Capitol Park since the 1960s. It was toppled by protestors last year in one of several attacks on statues of the Spanish saint across California amid widespread protests over racial injustice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

The proposal had come under heavy criticism from historians and Catholics in the state, including California’s two Catholic archbishops, Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who in a Sept. 12 Wall Street Journal op-ed asked that both the proposed statue to the state’s native peoples and the Serra statue be allowed to stand at the Capitol. 

The Associated Press reported Sept. 24 “it could be awhile before the monument is built” due to the permits needed to begin construction. 

Full story at Angelus News.