Pope Francis offered a historic apology to survivors of Canada’s residential schools on Monday. The majority of these government-funded institutions, in which thousands of local children were abused and neglected, were run by the Catholic Church.
In the lead-up to the pope’s visit, local leaders made specific calls about what they wanted to see in the apology and where they hoped it would lead next.
Here’s what was missing:
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Abrogation of the doctrine of discovery
The Assembly of First Nations is one of the most vocal bodies calling for an end to the 15th century policy.
It was a Vatican decree that legalized the colonization of indigenous lands by other countries, including Canada.
AFN argues that this view ignores local sovereignty and continues to have legal ramifications today.
After Pope Francis’ apology, which was delivered to an audience of survivors and others in Moscow, Alta., the pontiff faced chants from the crowd to renounce the faith.
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An apology on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution
In his apology, the Pope asked for forgiveness “for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Christian people”.
Murray Sinclair, who served as the head of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said the pope’s apology “left a deep hole” by failing to acknowledge the role the church itself played in the residential school system. I pay and instead “blames individual members.”
“This was more than the work of a few bad actors _ it was a comprehensive institutional effort to remove children from their families and cultures, all in the name of Christian supremacy,” Sinclair said in a statement Tuesday. said in a statement on Tuesday.
The TRC listed the papal pardon as one of its 94 calls.
Cody Grote, a professor at Western University and a member of the Six Nations of Grand River in southern Ontario, says Pope Francis apologized earlier to a local delegation that visited him in Rome for the same reason. The lack was found _ blaming the individual as opposed to the institution.
Grote, whose grandparents attended a residential school run by the Anglican Church, says people will view the language and terminology used in Monday’s apology differently, adding that he feels Let’s say it’s an improvement from spring.
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“When you use remarks like an apologetic on behalf of the Christian faith, it probably acknowledges a broader phenomenon that happened in a long history of colonialism.”
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Any mention of rape – or genocide
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in calling for a papal apology, said it must address the role of the Catholic Church in the “spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual exploitation” of indigenous children in residential schools.
Pope Francis said the children suffered “physical, verbal, psychological and spiritual violence” but did not mention sexual abuse.
Grote says the pope’s words were carefully vetted before being delivered, and he believes the omission of sexual abuse was a conscious effort.
“It’s going to be something that a lot of people have called for,” he said.
“With Pope Francis not directly acknowledging or apologizing for sexual abuse, this is something that will have to be reworked.”
Also absent from the papal apology was the word “genocide.” The commission concluded in its 2015 final report that Canada’s residential school system amounted to “cultural genocide”.
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Promise to release documents and samples
One of the outstanding calls facing the Vatican and Catholic institutions in Canada is to release more documents on the operation of residential schools, and return local models.
News last year that ground-penetrating radar had detected hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in western Canada is believed to have prompted governments and church officials to change such records. The need has been emphasized for those who can help identify the dead, say advocates and local leaders.
Evelyn Korkmaz, a residential school survivor who attended St. Ann’s Residential School, noted that the papal apology did not say anything about handing over documents to the church, which she He said that there is a dire need for it.
“These documents contain our history,” he said. “These documents identify these children. It will bring closure to their families and loved ones. Everyone needs closure to heal and move on. And that’s all we’re asking, these documents. To be released. They belong here in Canada. They are ours.”
The Métis National Council demanded the return of artefacts held by the Vatican, which had been taken from Métis people and communities.
Indemnification and indemnification covenant
The pope’s apology and visit to Canada come as the Catholic Church faces criticism for not fulfilling financial promises it made to survivors.
One of the main points of contention is the “best efforts” fundraising campaign signed by 48 Catholic institutions as part of the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to compensate survivors.
Of the $25-million goal for the fundraising effort, less than $4 million was raised before a judge ruled in 2015 that the entities were free of liability.
Last September, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced it would pledge $30 million over five years to reconciliation initiatives. Ahead of Pope Francis’ arrival, the bishops announced that dioceses have contributed $4.6 million to the effort so far.
Some survivors and local leaders have said that the pope’s pardon should be followed by additional promises of reparations or reparations.
Cindy Blackstock, a child welfare advocate and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, shared a “to-do list” on social media to follow up on the apology.
It includes: “Ensuring the church (not parishioners) provides compensation to the estates of residential school survivors and deceased children.”
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