Catholic Church apologizes for abuses against Indigenous peoples in Canada


The Canadian Council of Bishops has expressed “regret” over the mistreatment and death of thousands of Indigenous children in schools handed over by the government to Catholic communities as part of a policy of reuniting Indigenous peoples. A story that broke after the discovery of human remains last summer is close to business. Commitment to reconciliation and hopes for the Pope’s meeting in December with local elected officials

Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican City

“We express our deepest condolences and unequivocally apologize.” The Catholic Bishops of Canada, who gathered wholeheartedly this week, pronounced a sad Maya Gulpa through them a note This summer, after the discovery of a thousand unmarked graves with the remains of tribal children near boarding schools, an official apology to the tribal people. These were donated to local Christian churches, including schools and the Catholic Church, founded by the Canadian government in the late 19th century.

More than 4,000 children have died from abuse and inconvenience

Between 1883 and 1960, children from around 150,000 countries, including Medes and Inuit, were forced to attend one of these 139 schools across the country, which severed ties with their families, their language and their culture. This decision is part of the federal government’s policy of integrating Aboriginal peoples. In 2015, after seven years of research, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report detailing the abuse and conditions and malnutrition of these children. At least 4,000 children and adolescents have died of disease, starvation and cold after the age of 80.

M Gulpa of the bishops: serious abuses

The viceroys of Canada, identifying it almost as “an organization”, recognize today that “many religious communities and dioceses are involved in this system”: it has led to the “repression” of languages, culture and tribal spirituality and above all. Does not respect the rich history, traditions and wisdom of Indigenous peoples. “We painfully recognize the legacy of historic and ongoing shocks, suffering and challenges faced by tribal peoples to this day,” reads the Bishops’ statement condemning the “grave abuses” committed by some members. Catholic community: “Physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural and sexual abuse”.

People hug in front of a temporary monument at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (June 2021)

People hug in front of a temporary monument at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (June 2021)

Commitment to Healing

Pope Francis’ full commitment to the process of healing and reconciliation was confirmed June 6 in Angeles after the discovery of 215 human remains in May at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. A few weeks later, 715 unmarked graves were discovered near the Marival Indian Residential School. The grisly discovery sparked fear and outrage across the country, as well as fierce backlash against the Catholic Church, which burned down four churches in the province of British Columbia.

Words of the Pope to the Angels

“It just occurred to us thenAngeles June 6 – Further enhances awareness of past pains and sufferings. May Canada’s political and religious authorities continue to work together to shed light on this tragic history and to work diligently for the cause of reconciliation and healing. These difficult times mean a strong call for all of us to move away from the colonial model and the ideological colonialism of today and to walk side by side in dialogue and mutual respect and recognition of rights and cultural values. Daughters and Sons of Canada. ”

Meeting with the natives in the Vatican

Pope Francis – Remember the Bishops of Canada – will receive representatives of indigenous peoples at the Vatican from December 17 to 20: three different interviews with First Nations, Inuit and Median groups, then the final joint audience. The Bishops note that it will be an opportunity to “understand how he can support our common desire to renew relationships and walk together on the path of hope in the years to come.” The Bishops’ Conference also affirms a commitment to “work with the Holy See and our Indigenous partners on the possibilities of the Pope’s visit to Canada as part of this healing journey.”

Initiatives and fundraising in the dioceses

In the meantime, the Canadian Church recalls, in addition to the pastoral efforts deployed in the dioceses, as a “firm expression of this enduring commitment” for reconciliation, the fundraising initiated to support initiatives discussed locally with local partners in each region. “We invite Indigenous peoples to journey with us into the new era of reconciliation – reading the final lines of the proclamation – to help prioritize healing efforts for Indigenous peoples in each of our dioceses across the country, especially the Indian boarding school survivors. schools, and to educate and sanctify our clergy. And women and believers in indigenous cultures and spirituality.

The Bishops’ apology comes less than a week after the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day for Missing Children and Boarding School Survivors scheduled for September 30.


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