The Vatican: Was Isabella Good Enough?

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Should Queen Isabella of Spain become a saint, in time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America? To admirers pushing her candidacy, she was a wise and pious ruler who commissioned the explorer's voyage in 1492, bringing Catholicism to the New World. But others remember her as the monarch who expelled Jews and Muslims from Spain and presided over the Inquisition. Both views must be weighed by the Vatican, which has received a petition from an Argentine-born priest asking that Isabella be canonized by 1992, when the church plans to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Americas.

The proposal has enraged many Spanish Jews and Muslims, who regard her as a symbol of intolerance and have vowed to oppose her elevation.