The Archbishop of Halifax is willing to apologize to the Pope for boarding school

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Halifax expressed his willingness to work with other church leaders across the country to ask the pope to apologize to the survivors of the boarding school.

Archbishop Brian Dunn said that these discussions are already underway, and Pope Francis responded by asking the bishops and archbishops to first cooperate with the local indigenous communities to ensure that they are willing to accept an apology.

“In order to apologize with Pope Francis, of course I will agree,” Dunn said.

Two weeks ago, believed to be an unmarked cemetery with child remains Was found at the scene According to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, preliminary findings from a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia indicate that the site may contain the remains of 215 children.

Since then, the pressure for a formal apology from the pope has increased. Who calls for healing, But did not apologize.

A plaque in Halifax Park commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984 was recently sprayed with the number 215 and turned into a temporary memorial.

The Halifax District Police said they are investigating the incident and brought them to their attention on Friday. The city government stated that the graffiti was removed on Friday afternoon.

A plaque at Halifax Park commemorating Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1984 is splattered with the word “215”, which is a reference to a recent discovery near the former Kamloops Indian boarding school in British Columbia. (Steve Lawrence/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Unlike the Anglican or United Church in Canada, the Roman Catholic Church does not have a leader representing the organization in the country. On the contrary, there are 80 dioceses, and each diocesan has its own leader.

Dunn said that the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference will discuss the issue of the Pope’s apology at the next meeting.

He pointed out Pope John Paul II visited Canada in 1987 Meet with indigenous leaders and give speeches to affirm the autonomy, land base and sufficient resources to develop a viable economy.

Dunn said his successor, Pope Benedict, expressed grief over the suffering of boarding school students in a 2009 statement.

“Maybe this is not the kind of apology that people expect, but we hope that Pope Francis will move in this direction,” Dunn said.

In 2018, Dunn, then bishop of Antigonish diocese, and his predecessor, Anthony Mancini, Apologize personally Because of the church’s behavior in the Shubenacadie boarding school in Nova Scotia.

Shubenacadie boarding school operated in Shubenacadie, New Hampshire from 1929 to 1967, about 45 minutes northeast of Halifax. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

During the Mass held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Halifax on Sunday, Dunn once again apologized for the “harm, violence and abuse” of the boarding school.

“I think people need to hear that we are really sorry over and over again, and we want to express our true desire to be united with the people, especially to provide any kind of help we can provide,” he told CBC News on Friday. interviewing.

When asked if he would be willing to fund the settlement project, Dunn said, “We have to discuss it and see what this means for both parties.”

Shubenacadie boarding school is managed by the staff of the Archdiocese of Halifax and Yarmouth and the Sisters of Charity. Dunn said that any records related to the school were submitted to the Department of Northern and Indian Affairs in 2008 and again to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Dunn said he had planned to meet with Mikema leaders to learn how the church supported them, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the meeting was cancelled.

He said he hoped the meeting would be held as soon as possible, possibly this fall. Dunn said he also plans to visit all the aboriginal sanctuaries in the parish.

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