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Why the Pope’s lack of apology on the role of the Church in residential schools was no surprise to Vatican observers

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Warning: This story contains disturbing details.


When Pope Francis stood on his balcony in front of St Peter’s Square on Sunday, he expressed his “closeness to Canadians hurt” over the discovery of the remains of an estimated 215 children buried in the grounds of a former Catholic-run residential. Schools in Kamloops, BC

Yet many Canadians reacted in anger and despair that the words “sorry” were not included in the phrases spoken by the Pope.

However, Vatican observers were surprised. They state that the lack of a formal apology from both the Pope and Canadian bishops as a group reflects the ongoing paralysis within the Vatican hierarchy in how to deal with the issue of abuse, with a Canadian convention of Catholic bishops, known as One supervisor has called “tragically inadequate,” and liability concerns.

“[The Vatican hierarchy] trying to convince themselves that they did what they needed to do… and they spend 90 percent of their capital trying to stop the bleeding as rights and media [of credibility]”, said Massimo Fagioli, a Vatican observer and professor of historical theology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

“But they do not understand that each national or local matter seeks its own identity and typology. [of abuses] Discovered in recent years, from the mistreatment of nuns to kamloops, the pedophile is far more complex than the priesthood.”

Observers say that the voice-deaf responses were due to a lack of understanding.

look | Full apology, record transparency needed, says former AFN national chief:

Phil Fontaine, a former national head of the Assembly of First Nations and a residential school survivor, told CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton that he firmly believes the Pope and the Vatican will apologize to many of the Canadians for the role of the Catholic Church. Should ask. Residential school. 9:40

Following the pope’s comments on Sunday, Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, told CBC that the “day-to-day work, quietly, gently” was more important than the papal visit and apology in Canada that he told the Catholic Church in 1991 The Catholic Order in charge of the largest number of residential schools has been working with indigenous peoples since then, the Missionary Oblates of Mary the Immaculate, apologised.

This is an interpretation of events, many indigenous peoples, still waiting for all the school archives to be shared, take up the issue.

Observers say Cardinal Michael Zerny, along with another Canadian cardinal living in Rome, Marc Ouellet, met separately with the pope on Saturday, possibly to discuss the discovery at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Despite renewed push for formal apology after Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation search announced, Czerny said Francis’ priority now was to respond to the “pain, despair and hurt” in Canada.

Further apologies not ruled out

While Zerny did not rule out further apologies, the cardinal said it was up to Canadian bishops to address the issue first and insisted that Francis’ blanket cover for the indigenous peoples of the Americas during his visit to Bolivia in 2015 The apology covered Canada.

Still, Vatican observers say the papal apology on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, in which no indigenous Canadians were present, may have run the risk of speaking out. And, he says, he believes that Francis, who has called for a “healthy decentralization” of the global church, is prompting the Catholic Church in Canada to properly address the situation that is primarily is related to.

“I think he wants Canadian bishops to take responsibility, be accountable,” said Icopo Scaramuzzi, a Vatican expert and author of a forthcoming book on sex and abuse of power in the Vatican.

“Just 20 years ago, the Holy See was trying to persuade Catholic politicians in Ireland to close these kinds of archives. Now you have a pope who is pressuring the local church to actually open the archives, which That’s a big change in attitude, and my opinion, most importantly. Tell the public what happened.”

look | Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister calls on Catholic Church to ‘do better’

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Caroline Bennett told CBC’s chief political correspondent, Rosemary Barton, that she believes there are still documents on residential schools that should be issued by the Catholic Church and the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation. should be presented in 9:34

But liability concerns may also be behind Canada’s reluctance to apologize at the Episcopal Conference, a opinion Expressed by former Senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and shared by Vatican experts.

“My fear is that they are listening to the lawyers. And the lawyers are telling them, if you [apologize]’You’ll open a flood of lawsuits because you’re saying you’re responsible,’ Fagioli said.

“In my experience, whenever a clerk in North America has to make a major decision, the first step is to ask lawyers. I think that’s what’s happening.”

What about access to the archives?

Experts say it is one thing to take legal action against the Catholic Church in Canada for access to the archives, something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at last week before backing down on the suggestion. But that’s another thing entirely that is trying to force the Vatican to release documents related to the archives.

Mario Calligiuri, a Rome-based lawyer for Rete Abuso, the Italian association of clergy victims of sexual abuse, said he was not aware of any cases in which the Vatican was legally obliged to release the archives.

look | The cardinal says Trudeau’s call to the church to release the record is “unfounded”:

Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, told CBC’s chief political correspondent, Rosemary Barton, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments calling on the Catholic Church to release records from their former residential schools were “extremely helpless” and “baseless”. 8:22

Given that the Vatican is a separate sovereign state, a potential lawsuit to access the documentation would not be straightforward.

“If the Vatican has documents related to schools, they should share them with those who request to see them,” Caliguri said. “But I am not aware of any legal principle that gives another state the right to access them.”

The Vatican has in its archives correspondence between Canadian bishops, apostolic nuncios (Vatican diplomats), and the Vatican, but Scaramuzzi said that the main archives for the schools would be in Canada, as they were for church-run penitentiary workhouses in Ireland. Where there was systematic abuse against women.

papal ally

While pressure mounts from Canada to apologize to the Pope and the Canadian Church to fully cooperate, last week, the harshest condemnation within the Catholic Church for its handling of the abuse crisis came from its highest ranks. A resignation letter was sent to the pope by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a prominent figure in the German Catholic Church and one of Francis’ strongest allies.

Marx, who is not accused of abuse, wrote that he was resigning to “taking personal and institutional responsibility for the devastation of sexual abuse by church officials” and that the Catholic Church itself was willing to deal with a “dead end”. finds himself. of issue.

While Marx’s letter was addressing the sexual abuse crisis in Germany, observers say it sheds a clear light on the Vatican hierarchy that is woefully inadequate in its response to the crisis that has plagued it in many countries for decades. – paralyzed by the fear that the call for forgiveness for their past offenses and abuses will never end.

The startling discovery in Kamloops, Fagioli said, is the latest.

“They don’t know what else to do because the only thing that can quell the anger is for the Pope to go to Canada and apologize,” he said.

“And you know what happens the day after the announcement? Australia and Africa and everywhere apologise as well. So when do you stop? The problem is, as they see it, it’s never enough “


Support is available for those affected by their experience in residential schools and those affected by the latest reports.

A National Indian Residential School Sankat Rekha has been set up to provide support for alumni and those affected. People can access emotional and distress referral services by calling the 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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