Readers Speak Out: August 1-8, 2021

  • July 29, 2021

Honourable way

The Pope will not visit Canada unless he is first invited to do so by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Indigenous peoples no doubt wonder why the bishops of Canada have arranged for a delegation of their leaders to meet with the Pope, but they did not invite him to come to Canada to deliver the apology requested in the Truth and Reconciliation’s final report. 

Indigenous leaders are entitled to know why Canadian bishops could muster the collective will to invite Pope John Paul II to visit Canada in July 2002 to participate in World Youth Day, but remain unable or unwilling to invite Pope Francis to come to Canada to deliver a long overdue apology for one of the bleakest chapters in Catholic history.

They should also question how it was that Pope Francis travelled to Ireland in 2018 and apologized for a decades-long scandal regarding clerical sexual abuse of children. It is inappropriate to compare degrees of victimization, but important to note that Catholic culpability in Canada’s residential schools lasted for over a century.

There is an honourable and just way to address this dilemma. Indigenous leaders could consider advising Pope Francis and his Canadian bishops that their acceptance of his invitation to travel to the Vatican this December is conditional upon the Conference first passing a motion at its plenary this September that invites the Pope to come to Canada to deliver the apology requested in Call to Action 58.

The result of the vote on such a motion would demonstrate whether the bishops of Canada are acting in good faith.

George Valin (Former Ontario Superior Court Justice)

Maurice Switzer (Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation),

North Bay, Ont.


Be humble

Despite my growing alienation form the structural church, I have just written a cheque to renew my subscription. It was a decision that saw me waffle for weeks. Why?

Over the last few years, we have seen sexual abuse scandals, cover-ups of these reaching to high levels in the Church hierarchy,  and financial corruption. Now we see the results of the Church’s eager participation in residential schools replete with more reports of mental, physical and sexual abuse of children. Reparations that have been promised are given only lip service until exposed at which time the issue is readdressed. Through it all we sail serenely along, clinging to the statement that Holy Mother the Church cannot sin, cannot do wrong.

Well, wrongs have been done, grievous wrongs, wrongs that demand confession, contrition and penance. These three do occur but it seems to me they are always qualified. In my mind. a qualified apology is not an apology at all. I suggest we need to look hard at ourselves and maybe replace our concept of Holy Mother the Church with “Humble” Mother the Church. Humble and contrite and penitent. Then maybe we can better move along in the process of reconciliation and renewal.

Patrick Davis,

Calgary, Alta.


Action needed

The residential school in Kamloops was apparently run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who had teachers and administrators at the school. Expressing grief is not good enough. You are sorry, — yes, maybe you are —but don’t ask me to believe it until you pose concrete actions leading to reparation of some of the harm done to the families of those children in unmarked graves.

Are your outraged? You should be. Tears are not enough.

Nicole Gervais,

Tofino, B.C,

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