TORONTO – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, along with the St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors – some of whom who suffered horrific abuse inflicted by priests, nuns, and servants of the Catholic Church – are expressing dismay at Pope Francis unexplainable refusal to apologize to residential school survivors and their families.
“It clearly seems like a strategically timed position of denial and ignorance by the Church to make such a brash statement, being that we are on the eve of Good Friday and Easter Sunday,” said Regional Chief Day. “As this is the weekend that most Catholics attend church services, I hope that parishioners across Canada inform their priests to convey the message to the Vatican that this long overdue apology must be issued”.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated that there can be no reconciliation if there is no recognition of truth. The Pope’s refusal to apologize must come as a revelation to Canadians, as well as all Catholics, that the world’s most powerful and influential religious institution, has failed enormously in upholding basic morals and values,” continued Regional Chief Day.
The Survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School, Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin Association, issued the following statement to be released by the Chiefs of Ontario:
“It is disappointing, and at the same time, typical behaviour for the Catholic Church to deny the harm they have inflicted on the Indigenous people of Canada.
The Pope’s refusal for an apology to residential school survivors implies the continuation of Church policy dating back from early contact. Their influence on Indigenous society and established protocol was quick and harmful, with Indigenous children as their primary target.
Consider their teachings in 1910:
Question: What is God telling us not to do by his law in the beginning?
Answer: He told us not to: if we are not Christian, all acts are sinful, evil practices such as the Shaking Tent, Drumming, Sweat Lodge, and sacrifices. (Page 83, section 16)
Revision in 1924:
Question: Who was the first to break the (God’s) Law?
Answer: He who makes his god in the image of the devil by paying homage to the sun, to the stars, he who Drums, participates in Shaking Tent Ceremonies, evil chanting, evil feasting, evil pipe ceremonies, and sweetgrass, all these things are of the devil. There is evil is being selfish, being greedy, in fornication as you are more in love with your sinful ways than being in love with God.
(Taken from: Prieres, Cathecisme Chemin de la Croix et Cantiques: A L’usage des Sauvages de Fort Hope, de Martin’s Falls et New Post, Librairie Beauchemin limitee, 1910, 1924)
Chief Day concludes, “The Pope is refusing an opportunity to revise an outdated and harmful policy that has caused harmful divisions within First Nation communities.”