October 12, 1492Some tell us that we should be ashamed of him...
These people view him as the man responsible for what they deem as genocide, because had he not landed in the Western Hemisphere, there would be no European settlement here, no slavery, and the land would be populated exclusively by Native Americans.
There would also be (not coincidently) no concept of constitutional government, no refuge of settlement for many who came here for a better way of life, no Tennessee, and no United States of America.
For all of his many faults, Christopher Columbus (Christoforo Columbo), also brought the zeal of the Catholic and Christian faith to this continent, and he insisted to his dying day that the voyage he undertook in 1492 was one that "the Lord put into my mind." This might explain to some degree the reason for the name that he gave the first island that he landed on: San Salvador-Holy Savior. Some of the other islands of the Caribbean bear the imprint of the Faith that Columbus gave them over the course of his finding them over his four voyages:
Santa Maria de Guadalupe-Our Lady of Guadalupe
St. Kitts (St. Christopher)
Santa Maria de Monsteratte-Our Lady of Montserrat
Martinica-Martinique (for St. Martin of Tours)
Our cuisine was forever changed. Spaghetti has red tomato sauce because of Columbus, who brought the plant to Europe. If you like omelets, you can thank the Spanish for them-the contraption that we have come to call an omelet is called a tortilla in Spanish cooking (as opposed to a piece of flat bread, which is called a tortilla in Mexico).
Most importantly, however, Columbus brought the faith of Christ on to this continent. Father Juan Perez, OFM was the first member of the Christian clergy to be "permanently" stationed in the New World, and celebrated the first Mass in the New World on December 8th, 1493-Perez would become an advocate for the rights of the Arawak people.
We should be ashamed of him, we are told-but it is because of him that we are here, and because of his efforts that ears first heard the name of Christ, and ultimately because of him that we live in the society that we do today.