Readers Speak Out: October 24, 2021

  • October 21, 2021

Healing path

Re: Money will be raised, but how to spend it? (Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, Oct. 10):

Fr. de Souza acknowledges the Canadian Catholic bishops have recognized the harm done to Indigenous peoples by their earlier collaboration with the Canadian government in the operation of residential schools. As an expression of atonement and a commitment to justice, the bishops have committed to raising millions of dollars in support of Indigenous efforts to recover from the trauma and injustice to which they were subjected.

Fr. de Souza frets about the uses to which Indigenous communities may apply these financial resources in the process of recovering a healthier sense of their Indigenous identity. He even suggests that their application to healing and reconciliation initiatives pass a theological test for Catholic correctness.

I would advise Fr. De Souza to relax. In this case, Father does not know best. Unlike earlier forms of paternalistic colonialism, part of the reconciliation process for the Church, in “walking with their Indigenous brothers and sisters,” includes recognizing that members of these communities are best situated to determine which forms of action are most conducive to their personal and collective healing.

Joseph Fardella,

Kingston, Ont.


Whole reality

The role of the Catholic Church in the lives of the Indigenous people of Canada cannot be defined solely by those evil people who did those evil things in the residential schools.

In your Oct. 3 editorial on the Canadian Catholic bishops’ apology to the Indigenous peoples you refer to the responsibility to open ourselves to listen to the truth, absorbing the reality of our collective past and finding the path to “walk in solidarity.”

Good advice! So might I suggest that we start with listening to the truth about the thousands of priests, nuns and brothers who worked long and hard to bring education, health and faith, not only to the Indigenous people of Canada, but to the poor, the immigrant, the homeless and the troubled. 

The value of the services the Catholic Church provided over the years is a reality of our collective past which is a truth we have a responsibility to open ourselves to and to absorb as we try to find a path to “walk in solidarity.”

To walk in solidarity calls for an appreciation of the good done by the majority as well as an apology for the wrongs done by the minority.

Cy Abbass,

Thornhill, Ont.


Life lessons

Re: Thousands abused in French Church (Oct. 10):

Faithful priests run the risk of discouragement upon reading yet another report of sexual abuse largely committed by ordained members of the Catholic Church — this time in France.

A constructive response would be to become better educated on life issues.

There is an organization called Priests for Life Canada that specializes in helping priests to preach on human sexuality. Run by priests for priests, it is sensitive to the embarrassment that causes some otherwise excellent clergy to shy away from topics like chastity, marriage and procreation in their homilies. It offers materials that make it possible to tackle these topics confidently from an up-to-date Catholic perspective.

Lise Anglin,

Toronto

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