A Mississauga priest is underneath fireplace after a sermon referencing the “good finished” by the Roman Catholic church in residential faculties, saying some would possibly go as far as to even thank it.
Throughout his sermon on the Merciful Redeemer Parish final Sunday, Pastor Owen Keenan referenced the Kamloops, B.C. residential school the place the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reported it had found the preliminary stays of greater than 200 youngsters in unmarked graves in Could.
“Two thirds of the nation is blaming the church, which we love, for the tragedies that occurred there,” he stated on a video initially posted to the church’s YouTube web page however since deleted. Clips of his sermon proceed to flow into on social media.
“I presume the identical quantity would thank the church for the great finished in these faculties, however after all, that query was by no means requested and we aren’t allowed to even say that good was finished there. I await to see what involves my inbox.”
‘Extraordinarily dangerous to reconciliation’
A clip of the Keenan’s feedback sparked outrage on social media, with one individual tweeting that the priest’s feedback have been “actually disgusting” and that “the Church shouldn’t be the sufferer.”
That is actually disgusting <a href=”https://twitter.com/redeemerparish?ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>@redeemerparish</a>. <br><br>Pastor Owen Keenan needs Canadians to thank the church for “the great that was finished” in residential faculties???<br><br>The Church is NOT THE VICTIM. <a href=”https://t.co/MnttPngAGd”>pic.twitter.com/MnttPngAGd</a>
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, a practising Catholic, stated she was “extraordinarily disenchanted” by her pastor’s feedback about residential faculties.
Studying from a ready assertion at a information convention Thursday, the mayor referred to as Keenan’s homily “deeply insensitive to Indigenous Canadians, notably at a time when Indigenous communities are in ache as they unearth extra mass graves on the web site so former residential faculties.”
“His feedback present a elementary misunderstanding of one of many core tragedies of the residential faculty system in Canada,” she stated. “The youngsters have been forcibly separated from their mother and father.”
Crombie stated how Canada’s historical past has been taught obscures the reality behind what actually occurred: The federal authorities and lots of church buildings, together with the Catholic church, operated these faculties for shut to 150 years, committing atrocities and silencing voices ceaselessly.
“No apology from the federal authorities or the church might be sufficient to undo the havoc that was reaped by means of these establishments,” Crombie stated. “However an apology is the place we should begin. It is a fundamental and it is a elementary basis to our reconciliation.”
Dr. Suzanne Shoush, who’s Indigenous, works for the Catholic-run well being community Unity Well being Toronto. She is demanding the Pope apologize for the church’s function in residential faculties. She stated feedback like these made by Keenan are damaging to reconciliation and exemplify why Catholic leaders must intervene.
“That is a part of the explanation why we hold pushing to have a proper asking of forgiveness to Indigenous folks in Canada from the Pope himself,” she stated.
“It is actually crucial that it comes from the management in order that we cease having these extremely ignorant and dangerous feedback coming from throughout the church. I believe that what we’re seeing is extraordinarily dangerous to reconciliation.”
Keenan additionally stated in his sermon that whereas the church ought to apologize for its participation within the “ill-devised authorities undertaking,” it also needs to wait to search out out who was buried on the Kamloops web site and why earlier than “rendering final judgment.”
Residential faculty survivors have shared horrific accounts of abuse, hunger and neglect, and difficulties getting paperwork from the Catholic church, which ran the vast majority of the colleges. The ultimate 2015 report of the Reality and Reconciliation Fee begins by stating that what befell at residential faculties “could be greatest described as ‘cultural genocide.'”
“The church actively sought to train unique management over the welfare of those youngsters and due to this fact are completely liable for the circumstances which these youngsters lived in,” Shoush stated.
In an announcement to CBC Information Wednesday, Keenan defended his feedback, saying that he was making an attempt to assist his congregation scuffling with damaging information in regards to the church.
“I’m deeply sorry, embarrassed, ashamed and shocked on the revelations of abuse, destruction and hurt finished in residential faculties throughout this nation,” he stated within the assertion. “I by no means condone the system … As a Catholic and a priest, I want I may say ‘I am sorry’ to everybody who suffered hurt.”
The Archdiocese of Toronto stated in an announcement it has been in touch with Keenan “to convey the deep ache and anger” some felt. He has “pledged to totally educate himself” in regards to the historical past of residential faculties.
“We apologize to anybody offended by his remarks,” the archdiocese stated.
Pastor criticizes Satisfaction flags at faculties
In the identical sermon, Keenan criticized Catholic faculties for flying Satisfaction flags this month, saying the church had hoped they’d present “braveness” by displaying a cross or sacred coronary heart as a substitute. He described the Satisfaction flag as “the usual of up to date sexual licence” that is changing Catholic symbols.
Keenan didn’t reply to questions from CBC Information about his feedback towards the LGTBQ neighborhood.
Crombie stated she advised Keenan his feedback don’t have any place within the Metropolis of Mississauga.
“He expressed his disgrace and regret,” she stated.
LGBTQ activist Keith Baybayon, who can also be a scholar trustee with the Toronto Catholic District College Board, stated members of the Catholic church have ramped up these sorts of feedback as extra Ontario faculty boards comply with fly Satisfaction flags each June. The flag holds a particular that means of inclusion for the LGBTQ neighborhood that the cross would not, he stated.
“Flying the Satisfaction flag can actually specific solidarity that the varsity boards have with their LGTBQ college students and workers, guaranteeing that they belong, their voices are heard,” Baybayon stated.
“We’re not taking away the cross. We’re not taking away the sacred coronary heart. They’re all going up there to make sure that each single individual is represented in our board.”