The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver apologizes to Indigenous communities for its role in running residential schools and pledges to support survivors in their quest for truth.
The religious organization responded to the discovery of the remains of 215 children from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School , located in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory, British Columbia.
I am writing to express my deep apologies and sincere condolences to the families and communities who have been devastated by this horrific news , writes Archbishop Michael Miller.
Since the discovery of the remains, voices have once again been raised to demand an official apology from the Catholic Church , the only one of the churches that have run residential schools that has not presented one. The Catholic Church has always maintained that the responsibility for residential schools rests with the dioceses and the religious orders which administered them.
The Church was unquestionably wrong in implementing a government colonialist policy that wreaked havoc among children, families and communities , writes Michael Miller on behalf of his archdiocese, who was responsible for the Kamloops area before the founding of the diocese of the same name.
An earlier version of this text stated that the Kamloops area is part of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. However, the region has come under the diocese of Kamloops since the latter was founded in December 1945.
The Archbishop promises that these feelings will be accompanied by tangible actions promoting the disclosure of the truth.
No apologies from the Pope
Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller says the Pope should apologize to Indigenous people for the role the Catholic Church played in the country’s residential school system and that it is “shameful” has not yet been done.
A formal apology from this organization, which has more than 1 billion followers worldwide, is one of 94 calls to action cited by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
In 2017, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, called on Pope Francis to present the official apology of the Catholic Church to the victims of the Canadian Indian residential schools, which he never did.
In 2021, Radio-Canada revealed that dissension among Canadian bishops would have contributed to Pope Francis’ refusal to come to Canada to present the mea-culpa of the Catholic Church.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops “clearly bears the responsibility” for the refusal of the Catholic Church, believes Marc Miller.
In a statement released on Monday(New window), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops admits the recent discovery to be quite heartbreaking , without apologizing.