Toronto area pastor resigns after boarding school’s “well done” sermon was met with strong opposition


Warning: This story contains distressing details.

The Archdiocese of Toronto confirmed on Friday that a priest who mentioned that the Roman Catholic Church had “done well” in boarding schools had resigned as a pastor.

in Sermon last Sunday, Owen Keenan, pastor of the Mercy Redeemer Diocese of Mississauga West of Toronto, talks about the estimated 215 children found in the site of a former church-run boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia Remains of

“Two-thirds of the country’s people attribute the tragedy there to our beloved church,” he said in a video posted to the church’s YouTube page but later deleted.

“I think the same number of people would be grateful for the good things the church has done in these schools, but of course, this question has never been asked, and we can’t even say good things have been done there. I’m waiting to see what’s in my inbox .”

The Archdiocese of Toronto issued a statement on Twitter on Friday that Keenan had resigned as a pastor and was given indefinite leave.

“We apologize for the pain caused by his remarks,” the archdiocese said.

Keenan resigned after the remains were found in the site of another former boarding school in Saskatchewan earlier this week. Cowesses First Nations said it has Hundreds of unmarked graves were found In the former Marieval Indian boarding school.

Keenan also said in his sermon that although the church should apologize for its involvement in “badly designed government projects,” it should wait to find out who is buried at the Kamloops site before “making a final judgment.” , And why were buried.

“Many people have very positive experiences in boarding schools. Many people have received health care and education and happy experiences,” he said, while calling for prayer and reconciliation.

His comment was met with Widespread criticism, Including remarks from the Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, who said his comments indicate “a fundamental misunderstanding of one of the core tragedies of the Canadian boarding school system.

On Wednesday, he defended his remarks in a statement to CBC News, saying that he was trying to help his congregation struggle with negative news about the church.

He said in a statement: “I am deeply sorry, embarrassed, ashamed and shocked by the exposure of abuse, destruction and injury in boarding schools across the country.” “I will never condone this system…as a Catholic A disciple and a pastor, I hope I can say’I’m sorry’ to everyone who has been hurt.”

The National Truth and Reconciliation Center estimates that about 4,100 children died in boarding schools based on death records, but said the true total may be much higher. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated that a large number of indigenous children who were forcibly sent to boarding schools never returned home.

In the same sermon, Keenan criticized Catholic schools for hoisting the pride flag this month, saying that the church wants them to show “courage” by displaying the cross or the sacred heart.

Anyone affected by the boarding school experience and those affected by the latest report can get support.

A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been set up to provide support to survivors and those affected. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services. Now you can dial 306-522-7494 to use the special line in Saskatchewan.





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