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Catholic Bishops Express ‘Sorrow’ At Discovery Of 215 Children’s Remains But Take No Responsibility

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 01 Jun 2021 18:31
Catholic Bishops Express 'Sorrow' At Discovery Of 215 Children's Remains But Take No ResponsibilityCTV News/PA

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has responded to the discovery of 215 Indigenous children’s remains being discovered at a school.

The harrowing discovery was made last week at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978 and was once run by the Catholic Church.

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It’s believed 150,000 Indigenous children who were separated from their parents were sent to these schools by the Canadian Government, many of whom were subject to abuse.

Following the announcement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, ‘The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart – it is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.’

The Catholic Church ran the school where the mass grave was discovered between 1890 and 1969. In light of this, many people called on the Vatican to issue an apology because of the Church’s involvement in the controversial schools.

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While the Vatican is yet to respond, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement calling the discovery of the children’s bodies as ‘shocking’, but still failed to issue an apology.

In a statement issued yesterday, May 31, Richard Gagnon, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote:

On behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), I express our deepest sorrow for the heartrending loss of the children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

The news of the recent discovery is shocking. It rekindles trauma in numerous communities across this land. Honouring the dignity of the lost little ones demands that the truth be brought to light. This tragedy profoundly impacts Indigenous communities, with whom many people across this land and throughout the world now stand in solidarity.

Shoes left in recognition of the discovery of more than 200 children's remains in Kamloops (PA)PA
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Acknowledging ‘the pain and suffering of the past’, CCCB pledged to continue to walk ‘side by side with Indigenous Peoples in the present, seeking greater healing and reconciliation for the future.’

There has since been demands for further searches to be conducted at other schools in Canada where Indigenous children were forced to go.

Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said it’s a ‘prime opportunity’ to begin work in all the schools’ grounds.

According to Bellegarde, there were 130 residential schools once operating across Canada that were similar to the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

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If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Canada, Catholic Church, statement, World News

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    Catholic Church 'Shocked' at Discovery of Remains of 215 Indigenous Children But Takes No Responsibility