Readers Speak Out: July 18-25, 2021

  • July 15, 2021

Shared responsibility

Canada’s Catholic bishops need to apologize for the Church’s involvement in residential schools, but not because of public pressure or demands by the Indigenous people of Canada, or requests by the prime minister, or even by the Parliament. Rather the bishops need to apologize in order to exemplify the virtue of solidarity, one of the most revered principles of Catholic social teaching.

It is true that only a few Catholic dioceses or religious orders were directly associated with the operation of residential schools. However, during those many decades these operated, did any bishop or conscientious Catholic express concern if not moral outrage over the Church’s involvement in such abusive treatment of Indigenous Canadians? Unfortunately, the whole of the Church in Canada appears to have been silent and hence tolerant of such abuses. Consequently, many Canadian Catholics, like myself, feel a degree of collective remorse and responsibility, even if we ourselves were not directly involved.

This shared sense of responsibility cries out for an expression of Catholic solidarity and an apology by the bishops on behalf of the whole of the Church in Canada. The bishops can then invite the Pope to share in this solidarity by visiting Canada to apologize for the actions of the Church.

Jim Cooney,

Vancouver, B.C.


History defaced

The louts who vandalized a Ukrainian Catholic church in Calgary also defaced a historical marker recalling the victims of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-20. Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were unjustly branded as “enemy aliens” and many confined in camps across the country. Some died in captivity and were buried in unmarked graves, including those transported to Spirit Lake in Quebec’s Abitibi region. To this day, the federal government has ignored repeated pleas for restoring this internee cemetery. The hooligans who spray-painted our plaque at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church obviously know little about Canadian history and demonstrated only their cowardice as they perpetrated this hate crime.

Lubomyr Luciuk,

Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association


Inspiring life

Our hearts were filled with grief when we learned that Fr. Stan Swamy SJ, a Jesuit priest in India, passed away on July 5. For over 50 years, he worked tirelessly for poor and marginalized communities of India.

Fr. Stan fought for the recognition of the rights of the Adivasis, documenting the abuse of power against Indigenous youth and those falsely imprisoned for defending their rights.

Fr. Stan was incarcerated for nine months. In spite of health challenges, the court refused to grant him bail. He was finally transferred to a hospital after contracting COVID-19.

Fr. Stan only wanted to be with the people he served.

Fr. Stan’s life and death has inspired a new generation of advocates who continue to fight for truth and justice. These are men and women emboldened by the strength and courage Fr. Stan showed. They will stand up for the truth, fight for the marginalized and continue to dedicate their lives in the pursuit of a just and equal society.

Victor Reyes,

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Jesuits International

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