Has the Roman Catholic Church been weaseling out its obligations in regards to Residential School abuse?

So many of us wonder about the Roman Catholic Church and residential schools. There doesn’t seem to be so much on this reported in the mainstream media. My trusty local drug store however has provided a Catholic response to this scandal. I notice now though that there does not seem to be regular Catholic reading mysteriously provided in this one particular drug store, part of a Canadian national chain, so perhaps someone in management figured out that the news stand in the store was also providing religious / Roman Catholic reading and put an end to it.
In any event, the B.C. Catholic journal I found there, produced in the style of a newspaper, dealt with this in the May 9, 2016 issue under the headline Church did not ‘weasel’ out of residential school settlement. The story read in part, “A $21 million shortfall on a $25 million fundraising campaign was a fiasco, but it wasn’t an attempt to weasel out of the legal or moral obligation Catholics have in the wake of the residential school tragedy, Grouard-McLennan Archbishop Gerard Pettipas told The Catholic Register.” The story reported that on the publishing of April 19th Globe and Mail article “…has led to accusations that the 50 Catholic organizations that were parties to the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement used legal trickery to sidestep their obligations.”
Pettipas, chair of the board of 50 Catholic Entities which are party to the Settlement Agreement, is quoted as disagreeing with this and he declares that there were three forms of payment agreed to, “There was a cash contribution. There was in-kind payment. There was best-effort campaign. We did all those. There wasn’t any weaseling out”.
The BC Catholic article also reports that “A glaring scarcity of results in the ‘best-efforts’ fundraising campaign has led some to question whether the Catholic Entities should have been released from their obligations” and quotes Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett saying that “the government would pressure the Church into restarting its fundraising.”
The large fundraising organization, Ketchum Philanthropy, participated in the Catholic Entities effort. Ketchum vice president Joanne Villemaire stated, “It’s not necessarily that Canadians are not supporting this. I think they’re probably saying this is a government issue and government should probably be supporting this. It’s a government responsibility”. She also declared, “The Catholic Church and other religious entities have been brought into this because they were all part of delivering the services on behalf of government”.
With all due respect to Ms. Villemaire, it seems that it has been Canadian taxpayers who have paid way too much and the Roman Catholic Church far too little. The Roman Catholic Church has “been brought into this” because they did not have a mandate to have their personnel sexually assault and abuse native Indian children that had been put in their care by the government. Had the abuse not happened, then the Catholic Church would not be facing the legal and moral obligations that it is today so it is quite astonishing to read this response.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *