The ceremony to canonise Fray Junipero was shown on a screen in Petra's parish church. | M. À. Cañellas


A saint, a tax, a government defeat, the past week was one of holiness and distinctly unholy rows, one of them even involving a saint.

The saint of Majorca
It isn't every week that Majorca acquires a new saint, but on Wednesday that's exactly what it did acquire: the Franciscan friar, Junipero Serra, was canonised by Pope Francis in Washington DC.

The controversy surrounding Serra was not one that the Bishop of Majorca chose to dwell on when explaining the significance of Fray Junipero in last Sunday's edition. "It is an event that will bring joy and light to all of Majorca in highlighting our most universally recognised contribution." Serra brought about the "birth of the church in lands where they had never heard of Jesus Christ, as all his activities were devoted to developing the humanising dimension of the Gospel in America".

When it came to the act of canonisation, Pope Francis was more inclined to acknowledge the controversy, but he spoke of the way in which Fray Junipero defended the native people of California and protected them from "mistreatment that today provokes disgust". Representatives of American Indian tribes were, however, minded to disagree, and they were in Washington to voice their protest against the canonisation and to also meet the president of the Council of Majorca, Miquel Ensenyat, who extended an invitation to them to come to Majorca. Ensenyat said that Fray Junipero was a figure from history who could, as with others, be "revised", but he was careful to point out that sight should not be lost of "his importance and the time when he lived".

Government defeat and the tourist tax row
Back in Majorca, parliament was the setting for a row that resulted in the government being defeated. The Partido Popular raised a motion calling on two senior government officials appointed by the government to be dismissed, levelling accusations of nepotism. Podemos, ostensibly part of the government, supported the motion, its leader, Alberto Jarabo, stating that PSOE and Més should stop displaying "great inflexibility towards democratic regeneration".

Otherwise, government business seemed to be principally - and inevitably - focused on the tourist tax. The Partido Popular's Alvaro Gijon tackled tourism minister Barceló over the matter in parliament, arguing that the tax will damage the Balearic economy. Barceló responded by accusing the PP of being irresponsible and of creating "false alarms".

Earlier in the week, a letter to the editor from David Carson doubted that the tax would be used for whatever purpose it is designed (which is still not clear), saying that "no government I know of will ever ring fence tax revenue for specific spend purposes".

The government was in fact giving - ever more - the impression that it was improvising over the tax and it faced the fallout from the disclosure that residents of the islands would have to pay the tax as well when they stay in hotels. On Tuesday we drew attention to the overwhelming reaction against this and to the uncertainties surrounding its introduction. At least some clarity began to emerge from the trailer yesterday for the report of Jason Moore's interview today with Barceló. Children will be exempt (as they are in Catalonia), but will his call to "please help us make Majorca a better place" fall on deaf ears? President Armengol had referred to the 13.5 million tourists who come to Majorca seemingly wishing to be generous in supporting Majorca and the Balearics through the tax. Somehow, one suspects that not all the 13.5 million will think like this.

The transformation of Magalluf
The tourist tax has diverted attention from other tourist matters, one of which, Magalluf, hasn't anyway been receiving the level of attention it has in the past. The transformation of the resort, as reported on Tuesday, was being hailed a success: by Meliá at any rate. "We can say that the hardest part has been done," said CEO Gabriel Escarrer, and the report pointed to the decline in the youth segment "attracted by excess and drunkenness" and to its replacement by "traditional, family tourism".