Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Kingston, Ont.’s Queen’s University.

Catholic Register columnist Glen Argan failed. To his credit he admitted it. After writing a gravely inaccurate column on the residential schools issue, he corrected the facts in his next one.

Pope Francis will visit Canada to further reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians in relation to residential schools.

The Catholic bishops of Canada have made a “financial pledge” with a “target of $30 million” over five years “as a tangible expression of their commitment to walk with the Indigenous Peoples of this land.” Local parishes will be “encouraged” to take up special collections “to support healing and reconciliation initiatives for residential school survivors, their families and their communities.”

Candidates for beatification don’t get to choose where they are beatified.

In our examination of the issues related to residential schools, we looked last issue at the problems of state power in evangelization. But what about evangelization itself?

What is the role of the state — the civil power, be it the crown or another form of government — in evangelization?

There are now a number of Catholic initiatives to raise money for residential school survivors and Indigenous communities. The Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan have launched a fundraising drive and there is a lay-led initiative to do the same. At least two dioceses which never operated residential schools — Calgary and Toronto — have announced that they will be raising funds.

In 2018, American Catholics experienced their “summer of shame” — first the revelations about Theodore McCarrick and then the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priestly sexual abuse. Given the media reach of the United States, the shame spread around the world. Soon Pope Francis announced a global summit on sexual abuse for February 2019. From that emerged some key reforms for episcopal accountability.

The shortest night of the year allows only a few hours of darkness in which to set churches on fire. It was time enough for two Catholic churches to be burned to the ground before dawn on June 21, 2021, National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Somehow a story about hundreds of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School became a story about what Pope Francis should do, not a story about the lives lost or why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau only rushed to provide money for documenting such graves when Kamloops was in the headlines, five years after he first promised to do so.