Saturday, June 10, 2023

Canada: Pope Francis on the “Atoning Pilgrimage” (July 24-30, 2022) (1)

Because “sadly, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutions, contributed to policies of cultural assimilation that have seriously harmed indigenous communities in the past.”

And he explained: “I am preparing to undertake an ascetic pilgrimage, which I hope, by the grace of God, may contribute to the path of healing and reconciliation already begun.”

an “atonement shrine”

From 24–30 July, Pope Francis’ 37th apostolic visit, organized with difficulties walking, took him to Alberta, Edmonton and Maskavasis, then Quebec, and finally Iqaluit, Nunavut, the capital of the Inuit region.

His first speech was to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, on July 25, at the cemetery of the former boarding school for Indigenous children in Maskawasis, Alberta, 70 km from Edmonton: “I was waiting for you to come among me. It’s from here , from this sadly suggestive place, that I wish to initiate what is in my soul: a penance shrine”.

“I have come to tell you personally how much I am suffering, to solicit God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to show you my closeness, to pray with you and for you. I remember four months of meetings in Rome.

“At that time he promised me two pairs of moccasins, a sign of the suffering endured by indigenous children, especially those who unfortunately did not return home from boarding schools. He asked me to return the moccasins when I arrived in Canada ; I have brought it and I will do it at the end of this speech”.

On the same day, Francis continued his foreign ministry criminal [que era principalmente un mea culpa sobre el pecho de los misioneros que lo precedieron] In the Church of the Sacred Heart, in Edmonton: “Let us not forget that even in church, the stars are mixed with good wheat.

“And it is precisely because of this star that I wanted to make this penance pilgrimage, and this morning began by asking many Christians to remember the evil suffered by the indigenous people and painfully ask for forgiveness.

“I am saddened to think that some Catholics have contributed to policies of assimilation and dissolution, which expressed a sense of inferiority, deprived communities and people of their cultural and spiritual identities, cut their roots and were prejudiced and discriminatory. attitude, and this was also done in the name of an education that was considered Christian”.

On July 27, 2022, leaving Quebec Airport, the Holy Father was greeted by hundreds of Quebecers stationed along highways as the papal car passed. A reception opposite the reserve stationed in the province of Alberta in the first part of the trip.

In the bastion of Quebec, where he was received by the Governor General of Quebec, Marie Simon, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, the pope addressed civil officials, representatives of indigenous peoples and the diplomatic corps: “It is necessary to remember that How policies of assimilation and liberation, including the residential school system, destroyed large numbers of indigenous families, their language, their culture, and their vision of the world.

“That reprehensible system, promoted by the government officials of the time, that separated so many children from their families, included many local Catholic institutions, for which I express shame and pain, and along with the bishops of this country, I I renew my request for forgiveness for the evil that so many Christians have done against the indigenous people. For all this, I apologize.

“If the colonial mindset at that time disregarded the concrete lives of the people, imposed pre-established cultural models, then even today ideological colony Which is contrary to the reality of existence and which suffocates the natural attachment to the values ​​of the people, trying to uproot their traditions, their history and their religious ties.

“It is a mindset that, while claiming to have crossed the ‘dark pages of history’, makes room for the so-called cancel culturewhich judges the past only in terms of certain present categories.

“In this way a cultural fashion is implanted that standardizes, that makes everything equal, that does not tolerate differences and focuses only on the present moment, on the needs and rights of individuals, often the most vulnerable. and neglects duties towards the most fragile. The poor, the migrant, the elderly, the sick, the unborn…

“It is they who are forgotten by welfare societies; it is they who, in general apathy, are discarded to be burned like dry leaves.”

The reconciliation mass celebrated by the Pope at the sanctuary of Sant Anne de Beaupre in Quebec on July 28, 2022 strongly addressed the indigenous people. While 70% of the seats were reserved for them, many expressed their wounds and their great expectations of the Church and the Pope.

But, of the 2,000 who attended, Elmer St. Pierre, the national leader of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CPA), faced general criticism. “Since the beginning of the visit, the Pope has apologized, he did it in Edmonton in Quebec,” he protested. “It wasn’t the Catholic Church that did all this, it was our government in Canada.”

Elmer St. Pierre reiterated this with conviction: “The Church decided not to suppress the heritage of the indigenous people, their language, nor cut their hair, nor make them white children. Priests, nuns worked, but if The government didn’t organize this event, it never happens. It was the government that went to the villages to pick up the children.”

A Brief Historical Reminder of the Promotion of Swadeshi

In 1610, Mawpiltu—or Membertau—the chief of the Michamac people—was baptized by Father Jesse Fletch along with 21 members of his family. The first baptized native in North America took the name Henry in honor of King Henry IV, who had been assassinated in Paris a month earlier. In 1620, the Remembrance priests opened the first boarding school for young Indians.

Then, in 1634, the Jesuits took over from the Recolects by establishing missions among the Hurons, people ravaged by a smallpox epidemic. Many members of the Society of Jesus were martyred with the Hurons attacked by the Iroquois. the chronicles Jesuit Relationsas well as Father Jean de Brebefe, constitute the first linguistic and anthropological study on Aboriginal nations.

Martyred by the Iroquois on March 16, 1649, this French Jesuit priest, a missionary in New France, was canonized in 1930. In 1665, Canada’s first Aboriginal saint, Kateri Tekkawitha, was born.

in the years prior to the publication of Indian law In 1876, Canada’s federal government and provincial governments entrusted the Catholic Church with the establishment of boarding schools for indigenous peoples in the west of the country, funding the establishment and maintenance of establishments.

Church-dioceses or Catholic communities were assigned by the government with 68 of the 139 boarding schools established, which is 49% of the authorized establishments. There were also some unconventional establishments.

Indian law Its objective was to homogenize the population of diverse origins and assimilate its members into non-tribal societies. It prohibited First Nations peoples and communities from expressing their identity through activities related to their culture or government. This law was amended several times. The term “First Nations” refers to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada who are not Métis or Inuit.

In 1892, the Government of Canada assigned Kamloops Boarding School to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The year 1912 saw the arrival of the Oblates in Hudson Bay and the beginning of Inuit evangelism. He opened a hospital and a residential school. In 1943 Pius XII declared Kateri Tekkavitha to be revered.

will continue…

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