...Belgian-born Father De Smet had an excellent rapport with American Indians, said the College Fix and others:Share
Writing at Magnificat, author and professor Anthony Esolen called De Smet "one of the most remarkable missionaries in the history of the Church."
While converting thousands to Catholicism, De Smet also helped negotiate treaties among the Indians and the United States, ensuring their land and safety.
He said that Father De Smet rebuked one tribe for attacking another without justification, and the two tribes "buried the tomahawk" because of him. His reputation grew so much that by 1862, it was a no-brainer for President Lincoln to send him to dissuade the Sioux from attacking white settlers as a way of avenging themselves for stolen land and broken treaties. He was successful.
"Had America followed his lead, great good would have come of it, and many evils — war, the theft of Indian lands, perfidy, mutual hatred, and the moral collapse that awaits a defeated people under patronage — might never have been," Esolen said.
Also reacting to the news was columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan. "As the mission of this Jesuit university is, presumably, to instruct the Catholic young in their faith and send them out into the world to bring the good news of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior to nonbelievers, what exactly is the problem here?" he wrote. "If the founder of Christianity is the Son of God, then Christianity is a superior religion."
Father De Smet is not alone in being the subject of controversy because of his relationship to Native Americans. Soon after news broke that Pope Francis intends to come to the United States and canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan who founded many of California's missions, a congressman initiated a move to replace Serra's statue in Statuary Hall inside the US Capitol in Washington. The congressman took issue with Serra's alleged mistreatment of Native Americans. (Read more.)