The president of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) says he has no doubt that Pope Francis will soon apologize for the role the Catholic Church played in Canada’s residential school system, but he believes the road to recovery and the future requires more than just an apology.
“What we need to discuss is how we create the healing, not just apologize and walk away,” MMF President David Chartrand said on Tuesday.
At the end of December, representatives of the MMF, including Chartrand, will join several other delegations that will travel to Rome to meet Pope Francis.
The delegations, which will include Indigenous leaders, elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth, are expected to have four days of meetings with the Pope from December 17-20 to discuss the role of the Catholic Church in the implementation of the residential school system. , and the pain and suffering that this system has caused to countless indigenous peoples in this country over many years and decades.
And as more and more truths about the residential school system continue to be uncovered in Canada, including the recent discovery of anonymous graves near the sites of a number of former residential schools, questions have recently arisen. as to whether the pope would publicly apologize for the church’s role, but Chartrand said he believed an apology would come.
“I have no doubt that there will be excuses because it was not just the individual generations that were destroyed, the next generation paid the price and then passed it on to the next generation,” a- he declared.
“It’s a generational problem, and it will take a generation to rebuild that.”
The Pope is also due to visit Canada next year, although no date has yet been announced for the trip, and Chartrand said he believed it was during this visit that the apology would be offered.
Chartrand, who said he was a devout Catholic, said he wanted to get the message across at the meeting about what the church did wrong, but also said he personally wanted to see the Catholic Church survive and prosper in this country.
“There were men and women who did these bad deeds, but it wasn’t faith that did them,” Chartrand said. “The Bible didn’t teach them to do this to people, these people hid under the banner of the church and did their wrongdoing, so I hope they will be punished in this life and in the next. .
“But more and more the church is suffering here in Canada, we have fewer priests than ever before and we fear that churches are disappearing in our communities. I know this because I get calls from my people and they are very worried about it.
“I hope the Pope will show the Archbishops of Canada how to revive the Church and revive faith in our communities.
And as Chartrand prepares for the next meetings, he said he hopes to show Pope Francis that it is important to look to the past, but also to the future.
“I’m going to bring hope as the theme of what I want to talk about, it’s about acknowledging what happened, but also knowing that we need to have hope and move forward,” said declared Chartrand.
“This will be my program. ”
– Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter working for the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.