“I Am Very Sorry” : Pope Francis to Canadian First Nations

Apr 3, 2022 | 1 comment

“I feel sorrow and shame for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you, the abuses you suffered and the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.”

On April 1st 2022, this was Pope Francis’s formal apology for the abuses suffered by the indigenous peoples of Canada from European Catholic colonists of Canada – including especially Catholic clergy – from the late 1800s to the 1990s.

“For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart, I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon,” the pope said.

More than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend Christian schools to deal with what was once called the “Indian problem.”

Catholic missionary congregations ran nearly three-quarters of the 130 compulsory residential schools.

Children were forcibly separated from their families for years and forbidden to acknowledge their  heritage and culture or to speak their own languages.

Cultural Genocide

Former students tell of extensive and systemic abuse — physical and sexual. Indigenous leaders have termed the residential schools system a “cultural genocide.”

At least 4,100 deaths have been documented at the former residential schools, where thousands of confirmed and unmarked graves have been found.

“It is chilling to think of determined efforts to instill a sense of inferiority, to rob people of their cultural identity, to sever their roots, and to consider all the personal and social effects that this continues to entail: unresolved traumas that have become intergenerational traumas,” Francis said.

Pope Francis told the Indigenous delegates that he would travel to Canada around the July 26 Feast of St. Anne, the “grandmother of Jesus”, for whom the Indigenous of Canada have a great devotion.

“This year I would like to be with you on those days,” he said adding that he would be happy to benefit again from meeting them when “I visit your native lands, where your families live.”

To read the entire report from La Croix International, click here.

1 Comment

  1. LAMP

    To be honest, I’m not sure the Vatican is helping where it could. I have a friend who holds a very humanity-centric opinion of life on this planet, is a historian for her community, and is now being instructed to work and co-create with as many others from all walks. She is required to take a hard stance on matters of the environment. Her elders are calling for it.

    Sadly, Canada is in a true late- stage capitalist class-war. We are experiencing things the UK went through not long ago, with most Canadians unaware.

    We follow things closely in certain circles. How are we going to respond? Cape Breton has its share of nazi-sympathizers from Germany. They are in bed with every level of government and connect to those within the university circuit. They purportedly own the lion’s share of property here already. Foreign ownership of Cape Breton – pretty much with a few billionaires floating about now.

    Despite attempts to peacefully negotiate their land ownership from their hands back to the Mi’kmaq, the latest peaceful eviction was escorted back to Connecticut, and one on the docket would be sent back to Ukraine, and an eventual showdown with global fossil fuel interests headquartered in Atlantic Canada.

    Oh, please let the Vatican know that we are all acting without financial protections of any kind. Scary when you think that passion alone is driving this Peaceful Eviction Project.

    That’s what happens when you have *Resource-Based/Open Access Economy advocates (*Jacque Fresco and Ireland’s own Colin Turner) on the loose.

    We are giving them reasons already too-well researched to establish Ukrainian rocket launch sites on our coastline, no matter how close to the heavens our location is.

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/11/25/news/nova-scotians-defeat-billionaire-developers-who-tried-swoop-park

    Please pass this information along to the board of the ACP.

    Reply

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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far - and especially the presentation by Dr Nicola Brady on February 24th 2022 - gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.

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