Canada brings voice to Catholic Church for role in residential schools for tribal children

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Discovered in Canada from hundreds of bodies and graves The two former residential schools for unnamed tribal children have reiterated Papa’s apologies to indigenous groups for the role of the Catholic Church in many of these centers. However, the claims in this case are reaching a level never seen before. Not just for the long-awaited apology; For economical files and repairs.

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On May 27, the remains of 215 children were found at the former residential school in Kamloops (province of British Columbia), a site run by a Catholic church. This Thursday, the chairman of the Covmus reserve, Catmus Delorm, announced the find. 751 Unmarked cemeteries on the basis of the former Marival boarding school (Province of Saskatchewan). “It’s not a mass grave; These are nameless graves, ”said Delorm. He also said the Catholic Church removed graves in the 1960s.

Kamloops and Marival were part of a network of 139 residential schools for the tribe operating between 1883 and 1996. About 150,000 children were forced to live in these centers, funded by the federal government and run by religious groups (over 70% of Catholics). Neglect, corporal punishment, sexual violence and racism are common among them. In 2015, a commission categorized what happened in these companies “cultural genocide”. The commission established in 2019 that at least 4,134 minors had died in these centers. Other experts estimate the number to be over 6,000.

In 2008, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to national groups on behalf of Canadians. Representatives of the Anglican, Presbyterian and United Church of Canada had done so years ago. In May 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, apologized. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a letter 11 months later: “After careful consideration of the request, after lengthy discussions with the Canadian bishops, [el Papa] He feels he cannot respond personally. Trudeau returned to court on June 4. “As a Catholic, I am very disappointed with the decision that the Catholic Church has taken now and in recent years,” he said.

Two days later, at the end of Angeles’ prayer in the Vatican, Francis read the news of the discovery in Kamloops. He said he was “hurt” by the discovery and “close to the Canadian people who were shocked by the shocking news”. Pope Benedict XVI said: “The tragic discovery makes us feel the pain and suffering of the past. May the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to work with determination to bring to light the details of this tragic story and humbly embark on the path of reconciliation and healing. “

The Minister of Relations with Indigenous Groups, Caroline Bennett, deemed Francisco’s words “not enough”. Trudeau said: “Indigenous communities must apologize.” Perry Bellicard, president of Canada’s first legislature, said many of its members were in talks with bishops to meet with the Pope in Rome in November. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops confirmed these talks.

Jean-François Russell, professor at the Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Montreal, comments: “The official argument in favor of non-excuse is that the Catholic Church in Canada is not a legal entity. . Some dioceses and congregations took part in the course, but the Pope could not apologize to all these groups, ”he explains. However, these groups report to Rome that they do not treat each other independently. I hope that the Pope will not go further than what the Episcopal Conference has indicated to him, ”he added.

Massimo Fogioli, professor of theology at Villanova University (based in Pennsylvania) testified Radio-Canada The Catholic authorities certainly ask their lawyers to avoid piling up trials in order to affirm a certain responsibility with forgiveness. Russell confirms: “This is a consistent opinion among the audience, but it has not been publicly recognized by the bishops. This is why it is emphasized that there is no Catholic Church in Canada. “

Tribal leaders have also demanded that the Church fully open its files to clarify the deaths, which Trudeau has demanded at various times. This Friday, it was announced that Marie Immaculée (48 executives in former internship) would share their files. Tribal leaders are also demanding that the Catholic Church repay the full amount promised in the compensation agreements. Of the $ 25 million installed, they only paid $ 3.7 million.

There are critical voices on the Catholic chest. A petition signed by more than 5,600 people (priests, professors of religious and Catholic institutions, and others) asks the bishops to respond to the demands of tribal communities. The Archbishops of Vancouver and Ottawa, respectively, Michael Miller and Marcel Dumbows, respectively, apologized and asked Francis to do the same. Russell comments: “The problem with boarding schools has grown huge. The bishops want to show unity, but for a long time different voices have already started to be heard. There are differences with the official line, cracks are found, messages against the line ”.

On June 13, unknown people wrote “murderers” and “open files” on a wall at St. Augustine Church in Vancouver. On Thursday, a man left his handprints in red paint and wrote “We are children” on the front door of Saskatoon Cathedral. In the early hours of June 21, two Catholic temples located on the British Columbia Indian Reservation were consumed by flames. The Canadian Mounted Police are investigating them as “arsonists”. In a statement, he stressed that although this police force is “sensitive to recent events”, its intentions cannot be guessed.


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