About the calling on Catholic bishops to Invite the Pope to apologize to Residential School survivors

by Fr. Peter Bisson, SJ

Father Peter Bisson, SJ in the panel of the TRC held last June 2016

April 3, 2019 — Only one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action is directed exclusively to the Catholic Church. Call 58 asks the Pope to come to Canada and apologize “…to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.”

Motion 325 also (to which Senator Murray Sinclair, former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, responded) invokes commitments made under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, whose implementation began in 2007 and continues today. The heart of the motion however, and the hope of many, many Indigenous Catholics, is the request that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops invite the Pope to come for this act of reconciliation. Prime Minister Trudeau and others have already done so. But the Pope, who values collaboration, will not come unless the bishops also invite him.

Many Catholic dioceses and religious orders have already apologized for their roles in residential schools. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate did so first, in 1991. But no religious order or diocese can speak for the others or for the whole Church in Canada. The Pope can.

Why come here to do it? Popes have already expressed regret or apology to Indigenous Peoples for the damaging connections between evangelization and colonization. Pope Francis did so in Bolivia in 2015. But no one likes being lumped with other groups in some homogenizing global category. The experience of Indigenous Peoples in Canada is distinctive --for example, they are not conquered peoples but Treaty Peoples. Finally, as we know from personal experiences, presence really helps reconciliation. In this case, not only presence and good words, but also participating in Indigenous ceremony, as Pope St. John Paul II did in Midland in 1984, would really strengthen the communion.

So let us prepare our own reconciliations so the Pope can build on them!

You can read the full text of Sen. Murray Sinclair's response to motion 325 by clicking here.





Recent News

May 16, 2019 — This past Saturday, May 11, the Jesuit Province of Canada celebrated the priestly ordination of Adam Douglas Hincks, SJ (Canada) and Edward Dawson Penton, SJ (Canada) and 5 diaconal ordinations at Saint Paul's Basilica in Toronto.

May 16, 2019 — Here is a brief summary of news and events that have happened or will happen in the next few days.

Father Gilles Morissette died in the evening of May 12, 2019, at the infirmary of Richelieu. He was in his 80th year and in religious life for 56 years. He devoted much of his time to spiritually accompanying people "who have been placed on his way".

May 16, 2019 — The magazines Relations and Au cœur du monde have just launched their new editions. These have us travlling to various places leading us to view the world in a critical and contemplative manner.

May 16, 2019 — From May 1 to 3, dozens of Directors of Apostolates gathered at the Villa St. Martin retreat centre in Montreal. They began to reflect about that very same question: how to start appropriating the UAP in our local Canadian contexts.

May 16, 2019 — The Jesuit Curia in Rome has just published a set of resources entitled: “Praying with the Preferences”, which provides seven documents to enable the reader not only to pray but to enter more deeply into the journey of renewal and conversion offered by the UAP.

April 23, 2019 — In honor of Earth Day this week, JRS/USA and the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology are answering your questions about climate and displacement.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Relations Mai 2019

Canadian Jesuits

Jesuit (Winter 2019)



Anishinabe Spiritual Centre
The Anishinabe Spiritual Centre is a place of peace, a beautiful retreat space, a welcoming ...