First Nations communities deserve an apology from the Catholic Church

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Religion has always been a topic in which I’ve handled with childlike curiosity and fragility.


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You never know another person’s boundaries and comfort levels in regard to discussing their beliefs and faith.

I grew-up in a mainly Catholic household where in my younger years we frequented Sunday mass and I got to attend the Sunday school where we were read stories and given Tim Bits, if you were lucky, you’d get a chocolate one and Sister Mary who seemed to be a never aging presence would visit and give out colouring activities and booklets to take home and share with parents.

You didn’t question the life lessons taught because they made sense as far as our little minds could comprehend, do unto others, turn the other cheek etc.

It was these doctrines that helped shape our lives on a path of acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.

It taught us that while we may falter and make mistakes or hurt people with our words and actions there was always a path for seeking out redemption.

As I grew older and I began to question my faith, Church slowly became a thing of the past, weekends were spent on homework, cleaning my room and hanging out with friends but every so often when the mood struck my mom and I would head to our local Church.

We became “cafeteria” Catholics picking and choosing the days in which we felt were important for us to attend service while maintaining the conversation of faith in our home.

It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I begun to see a trend with Catholicism that didn’t quite sit right with me.

While the Church addresses acts of forgiveness and open unity they have quite often failed to practice what they preach.


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No one person is perfect, we’ve all made mistakes and that includes the Diocese and Church as a whole.

From their stance on homosexuality, to there troubled and continuing issues with sexual abuse and there past with residential schools and current position with issuing an apology, they continue down a slippery slope of none adaptation.

The recent discovery of 215 children’s remains that were discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops has many calling for the Holy Father Pope Francis to apologize for the actions of the Catholic Church in the operating of many residential schools.

And this past weekend following a meeting with two Canadian cardinals the pontiff spoke from his studio in St. Peter’s Square and said, “may the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to collaborate with determination to shed light on that sad story and humbly commit themselves to a path of reconciliation and healing.”

But stopped short of giving a formal or even full apology for the role that the church played.

Despite the demands they’ve opted for something that feels so much more sinister, they’ve decided on a form of voyeurism, leaving the Canadian Diocese to handle the masses.

The members of our First Nations communities deserve an apology on all fronts but I am dismayed by the fact that a Church can stand to preach on asking for forgiveness can turn a blind eye on their own actions that have caused much pain and sorrow.

After issuing a formal apology they then need to follow up with action, actions that allow for the 215 and others to be identified and buried properly.

They need to help fund a reconciliation process that builds a relationship that moves forward on the premise of acknowledging their wrongdoings.

Because after all an apology is only given real meaning when the actions that follow demonstrate true sincerity and so far we’ve seen none of the above from the Catholic Church.

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