Vancouver’s Roman Catholic Church disfigured by words “killers” and “publish records”


Vancouver’s St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic parish was hit by vandals overnight Saturday.

Someone had written “release the files” and “killers” on the front door of the church.

Many have called the recent discovery of an unmarked burial site at the former Kamloops residential school a reconciliation in matters of reconciliation.

This has led some people to target symbols of colonialism and authority.

“It’s so sad, it’s really sad. We have nothing to do with what happened with these poor children, ”St. Augustine parishioner Maria Bastone told Global News.

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Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced the discovery of the remains of 215 children recently after ground-penetrating radar confirmed what members had long said to be at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, which was the largest such institution in Canada.

The school operated primarily under a Catholic order called the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded in 1816.

The Catholic Church has so far refused to issue a formal apology for its role in the residential schools, even when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican in 2017.

“[We] are true disciples of Christ, ”Bastone said. “Please don’t blame people today for what happened before. “

St. Augustine’s was one of many symbols in British Columbia recently vandalized in what appears to be a reaction to the discovery in Kamloops.

A statue of Queen Victoria on the grounds of the British Columbia Legislature was splashed with red paint on Friday, although it is still unclear whether this was to protest Kamloops or the logging old in the province.

Protests against ancient logging were taking place on the ground at the time and came days after the province announced it would suspend ancient logging activity in the Fairy Creek watershed and in the central Walbran region for two years.

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The postponement came at the request of the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, who said they wanted to prepare official forest plans.

A memorial to Queen Victoria was attacked on Saturday evening, however, the drinking fountain in Stanley Park has also been vandalized with red paint with the word ‘killer’ clearly visible. It was cleaned up quickly on Sunday morning.

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Reverend J. Michael Miller, the current Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, wrote a letter to all First Nations governments, Indigenous communities, families and citizens, expressing his “deep apologies and sincere condolences ”for what happened in the residential area. School system.

He also issued a public apology to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013, saying: “I wish to sincerely and deeply apologize to the survivors and their families, as well as to all those affected afterwards, for the anguish. caused by the deplorable conduct of those Catholics who perpetrated mistreatment of all kinds in these residential schools.

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The discovery in Kamloops has reignited a debate over what Canada should do about the statues that mark the very men who founded the schools where these children died.

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As these calls for change multiply, the federal government has been under pressure as to what it is planning to do about these statues, streets and building names.

“Dropping things, breaking things is not my favorite option,” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said in early June.

“Looking away from things is not my favorite option. Watching things as painful as they are, explaining why they are is my favorite option.

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But it is important that “Indigenous voices are heard and at the forefront” of the debate, Miller said, and that the government respects those views.

– with files from Paul Johnson

Anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience can access this 24-hour, toll-free, confidential Indian Residential Schools National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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