In the News: Bartolomé de las Casas

GC21Q11v2_p340DeLasCasas_largeEarlier this fall, the 16th-century Spanish friar Bartolomé de las Casas was in the news twice in one week!  I would have been surprised to see him once, but twice?  That’s just crazy for someone 500 years old.

The second appearance was rather innocuous.  Due to drought conditions in Mexico, a particular reservoir in the Mexican state of Chiapas had been getting lower and lower.  Surprisingly to the news media (but not to the locals, who had seen this before), a church emerged from the water!  As it turned out, the church was super old — it had originally been built by some monks in the 1500s who were associated with Bartolomé.  You can read the story at this link.

But the first mention was fraught with controversy.  As has become common in recent Octobers, social-media users raised questions at Columbus Day about the propriety of celebrating Christopher Columbus, a man whose motives and actions in discovering and settling the Americas were anything but pure.  The post that got the most traction came from the site called “The Oatmeal,” and it is available at this link.  Some folks were heavily in support, while others questioned the post’s conclusions.

Obviously, you can form your own conclusions about the Columbus Day issue, but for our purposes — how about that?  One Spanish friar in the news twice in one week?!?

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