California lawmakers are shelving a plan to replace a statue of the missionary Junipero Serra with astronaut Sally Ride in the U.S. Capitol.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara announced Thursday he would postpone his efforts until after Pope Francis’s September visit to U.S. The pope plans to make the 18th century missionary a saint during his visit.
Catholics had pushed for a delay, saying it would be disrespectful. Native American groups say Serra wiped out indigenous populations as part of a forced conversion campaign. They support removing the statue.
Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat, has said he wanted to honor Ride for her scientific achievements. She would also be California’s first woman and lesbian represented in National Statuary Hall