Canada’s bishops support Catholic Church’s statement on Doctrine of Discovery – National |  PKBNEWS
Canada’s bishops support Catholic Church’s statement on Doctrine of Discovery – National | PKBNEWS

Canada’s bishops support Catholic Church’s statement on Doctrine of Discovery – National | PKBNEWS

Canada’s bishops are working with the Vatican in hopes of publishing a new Catholic Church statement on the Doctrine of Discovery, organizers of the papal visit said Wednesday.

Many indigenous leaders and residential school survivors had hoped Pope Francis would abandon the policy, which stems from a series of edicts known as papal bulls dating back to the 15th century. Countries, including Canada, have used the doctrine to justify the colonization of lands considered uninhabited but which were in fact home to indigenous peoples.

The pontiff did not directly mention the Doctrine of Discovery when he apologized to residential school survivors in Maskwacis, Alta., on Monday, prompting criticism that he did not fully acknowledge the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system.

Laryssa Waler, spokeswoman for the papal visit, said Wednesday that the Vatican had previously stated that papal bulls related to doctrine have “no legal or moral authority” within the church.

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“However, we understand the desire to name these texts, acknowledge their impact, and discard the concepts associated with them,” she wrote in an email.

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“Galvanized by the appeals of our indigenous partners and the remarks of the Holy Father, the Bishops of Canada are working with the Vatican and those who have studied this issue, with the aim of issuing a new statement of the Church,” she added. “The Bishops of Canada continue to reject and resist the ideas associated with the Doctrine of Discovery in the strongest possible way.

She also referenced parts of the Pope’s apology that she said “directly condemned” policies related to the Doctrine of Discovery. She said this included when she said that “many members of the church and religious communities cooperated, particularly through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of the day. , which led to the residential school system.”

Earlier, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said the “gaps” in the pontiff’s apology could not be ignored.

Miller emphasized how profound the pope’s words, delivered to a crowd of survivors and others gathered near Edmonton, are for those absorbing them now.

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“It’s still an emotional moment,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

The minister said that indigenous peoples will decide for themselves what they think.

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Critics of the apology include the fact that Francis did not mention sexual abuse in his remarks and mentioned the “evil” committed by Christians but not the Catholic Church as an institution.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) clearly called for the papal apology to be similar to the 2010 apology the Vatican gave to Irish victims, Miller said.

The minister said the apology – presented by Pope Benedict XVI in a letter – made direct reference to the sexual abuse suffered by Irish children and the role played by the Catholic Church.

“It’s a clear distinction between the two,” Miller said. “The discrepancies speak for themselves.”

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), which represents Northern First Nations, said in a statement it was happy to see survivors receive an apology, but noted the failure to apologize for sexual abuse.

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“Apologizing and acknowledging the harm that has been done is just one of many steps that needs to happen. There is still a lot of work to do.

“It was a little surprising that the Doctrine of Discovery wasn’t mentioned either, but maybe it will be,” MKO said in his statement.

Among the strongest critics of the apology was Murray Sinclair, who led the TRC.

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Sinclair said the Pope’s words left a “deep hole” in the recognition of the role played by the Catholic Church in the operation of residential schools, emphasizing the actions of Christians, not the Church as an institution.

Miller, who traveled to Alberta for the papal visit, said the government would seek more details about what Pope Francis meant when, in his apology, he said a “serious investigation” would be needed into the what happened in residential schools.

The TRC, in writing its final report, collected testimony from more than 6,000 witnesses over a six-year period.

© 2022 The Canadian Press