Canadian PM blasts Catholic Church for ignoring role in indigenous schools

Lawrence Kim
June 5, 2021

The Prime Minister noted that he had "directly asked" Pope Francis to make the records available during a previous visit to the Vatican but that there was still "resistance".

"It's not showing the leadership that quite frankly is supposed to be at the core of our faith, of forgiveness, of responsibility, of acknowledging truth", Trudeau said.

Between 1831 and 1996, Canada's residential school system forcibly separated about 150,000 children from their homes.

Trudeau said Catholics across the country should reach out to bishops and cardinals on this issue.

"As we ring our bells, perhaps as many as 215 times in honour of each child, we do so with our advocacy and prayers for truth, justice, healing and reconciliation", said the Church of the Epiphany on its Facebook page.

Germany's Catholic Church counted 22.6 million members in 2019 and it is still the largest religion in the country, but the number is two million fewer than in 2010 when the first major wave of paedophile abuse cases came to light. "It's something we are still waiting for the Catholic Church to do".

The archbishop of Vancouver, however, apologised on Wednesday.

Throughout the years, individual bishops have apologized for the role that different dioceses played in the residential schools system.

Remains were found at Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia last month, and it is believed that the 215 deaths were never reported.

So far none has been excavated.

"We do want an apology" from the Church, she said, "a public apology, not just for us, but for the world. holding the Church to account". She adds that the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which ran nearly half of Canada's residential schools, has yet to release any records about the school.

"With my resignation, I would like to make clear that I am willing to personally bear responsibility not only for any mistakes I might have made but for the Church as an institution which I have helped to shape and mould over the past decades". The federal government then ran it as a day school until 1978, when it was closed.

Germany's Catholic Church has been rocked by a string of reports in recent years which have laid bare the extent of sexual abuse of children by clergymen.

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said that in his rebuke, Trudeau didn't point out that residential schools were created and funded by the government.

The Kamloops school in British Columbia, where the unmarked graves were discovered last week using ground-penetrating radar, was operated by the Catholic Church on behalf of the government from 1890 to 1969.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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