Posts Tagged ‘Residential Schools’


Now I have gone back and forth on taxing the churches my whole life. For me it comes down do they fulfill what their beliefs say, do no promote hatred, and are community involved is really what should allow them the privilege they have. Yes it is a privilege, and the religious communities need to remember that, it takes quite a bit to get that privilege in Canada.

And, the Roman Catholic Church has held a special part of my faith journey. I have seen welcoming parishes, and parishes that have bent over backwards to ensure belonging of all God’s Children. I love the mystery, and the sacraments, and the depth-breadth of theological and social science discourse that can happen. During my Franciscan formation there was no Ecumenical or Anglican group in the city so I fellow-shipped with the Secular Franciscan Order, have used the FCJ centre for personal retreat, and been in one parishes Lay Ministry of Praise (prayer).

But I do believe it is time for the Canadian Government to take a stand that will rile many, but I believe it is necessary. Those watching current events of the political nature in Canada have noted the fact that due to the structure of the Roman Catholic Church it is easy for the Vatican to duck responsibility on issues and to be held account for abuses. It usually allows the local diocese, and parish to take the hits while avoiding any hint of “official responsibility”. Popes will speak of personal remorse or sorrow around abuse (residential, sexual) that has happened to parishners, residential school survivors (not just Canadian, it was a format they used on other continents). The most lawyerly of answers.

Which is an affront to one of their key 7 Sacraments to stay in true good Communion with the Body of Christ. That is what was once known as the Sacrament of Confession, since Vatican II has become the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In its essence, it is admitting a wrong one has committed and seeking out within one’s whole person to be reconciled new, and to make amends to the party harmed. What are we to do with a group that will not honour their own belief systems? Core beliefs at that? A group that’s inaction has left them from following through on monetary support to residential school survivors, and due to lack of official apology are putting the TRC process in jeopardy for our hurting nation. TRC-Truth and Reconciliation- let that set in for what the church is avoiding.

You will read and hear many reasons and rationales. Some Conservative MP’s would not support the unanimous call to action to get the Pope to Canada. They sited their conscience against a government curtailing a group’s freedom of religion (I have no issue with free votes, as I have noted I dislike and think the whipped vote is unconstitutional)…yet we need to be pragmatic when thinking of freedom of religion as halting this. What else could be avoided judicially and civilly by a religious group hiding behind this? (I think of stories around Jehovah Witness’ cover ups; and other cover ups under this guise).

What is at play is simply will the Pope, head of the Vatican State and spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church truly enter the sacrament of reconciliation with all victims of his church’s practice and cover up. Will the Canadian Bishops allow it on our soil?  Personally, I would love to see it happen from the throne of the Vatican as a declaration made from the infallibility position. Would it be painful for the Vatican, its dioceses, parishes and religious orders? Yes. Would many lands, buildings and monies be lost? Yes.

But here is what happens when a body is held to account and lives out the professed beliefs…think of what healing would happen within the world.

Second best, if games continue to be played…then tax them like any other business.

Further Reading:

Bishops push back

Conservative MP blocks Unanimous Call for Residential School Apology from Pope Francis

 

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Pope Francis met with Prime Minister Trudeau and said he would consider a papal apology for the horrors of residential schools. This week (Holy Week, the week of the voiceless claiming their voice, and worth in their intrinsic personhood) his considerations ended.

The answer? NO! (some nicer words were used about not being able to issue a personal apology for the Vatican, but we know this is trite and the essence of a cover you butt memo).

Why I (a close but never true Catholic) and many other Canadian Catholics are not buying it? Because it is not about what is right. It is not about what the Jesuit who chose my patron’s name as his, Francis of Assisi would call to be right in the gospel teaching of Love your Neighbour.

Down to brass tacks, it is not what Brother Jesus taught in accountability, love, hope, faith, peace and the very Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation which the world is trying to move into a phase of. A Truth and Reconciliation process to move forward together as the one family we are in humanity.

Yet these old institutions, like the Sanhedrin and Empire keep attempting to assert their control. The Vatican knows that the Indigenous people of the world, and of Canada would not have the monies to outlast a civil law suit against the Vaticans coffers without “proof”. Now there is proof, I would challenge the Indigenous of the world (and yes this includes groups not normally thought of, like the Irish) who suffered in Catholic or church run schools or institutions to take them to the International Criminal Court on Human Rights grounds. More to the point, continue the local civil court pressure of suing the parishes and dioceses, they cease to exist because they are not willing to move into a healthier space then so be it.

But that is the rub.

The Vatican, via the Pope, with this momentous NO, is doing nothing more than covering its assets. They have seen what has happened to churches not structured like the pyramid scheme the Roman Catholic Church is. They legally know that if the Pope says “Sorry” then the throne and all the riches are culpable and able to be named in each civil action.

The Pope is covering the Religious Controllers, the remnants of the Empire that began inter-generational trauma; politically and financially-nothing more. In the midst of Holy Week. The week that started with the celebration of personhood for those that were told they did not matter. The journey that took us to the meal shared; the institution of the Sacrament of Service; the culmination of radical love; the betrayal with a kiss…to today…after all the laws were broken of the religious controllers that made them “Holy” in their own eyes…to protect the institution… and the beaten and bloodied poor were hung upon a cross…and at the hour…life left him…and Brother Jesus was lowered into a tomb.

The Pope did not use 30 pieces of silver to betray that which his papacy has been teaching. He used an English idiom. “Consider”.

The Pope in one action held the status quo, and showed the Christianities are still based on that which Jesus rallied against.  The neighbour does not matter if there is money and power at play.

This is the Good Friday reflection that came from contemplating these words of today from the Community that brought us the mystic and communal Gospel of John, what resonates in your heart of an injustice done to maintain silence and the illusion of holiness:

John 18:1-19:42:
18:1 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

18:2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.

18:3 So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

18:4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

18:5 They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

18:6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

18:7 Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

18:8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”

18:9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”

18:10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

18:11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

18:12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.

18:13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.

18:14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

18:15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,

18:16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.

18:17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

18:18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

18:19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.

18:20 Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.

18:21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

18:22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

18:23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”

18:24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

18:25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”

18:26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”

18:27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

18:28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover.

18:29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”

18:30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

18:31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”

18:32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

18:33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

18:34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”

18:35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

18:37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

18:38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him.

18:39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”

18:40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

19:2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.

19:3 They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face.

19:4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.”

19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

19:6 When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.”

19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

19:8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.

19:9 He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”

19:11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

19:12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

19:13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.

19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”

19:15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

19:16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus;

19:17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.

19:18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

19:19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

19:20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.

19:21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'”

19:22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

19:23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 19:24

So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

19:25 And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

19:26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”

19:27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

19:28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”

19:29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

19:30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed.

19:32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.

19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

19:34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

19:35 (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.)

19:36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.”

19:37 And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.

19:39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.

19:40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

19:41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.

19:42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.


Education. Business. Entertainment. Sports. Religion. Child Welfare. Politics. Persons with Disabilities support systems. Justice System.

Jesse Stone: Men may know somethings.

Molly Crane: Rape is something women know.

-Jesse Stone: Stone Cold T.V. Movie (2005)

#Timesup. #Metoo.  On one night…January 24, 2018 3 prominent Canadian politicians went down as the lid was blown off the badly kept secret of abusive misogyny in politics. I state badly kept, because the greater country may act like they did not know, but that is because they have been ignoring that which they did not want to know. They have ignored the voices that are being called out for complicity—that were ones shouting from the rooftops. The signs were so easily there, from a premier in 1934 booted from office; to how such Canadian politicians as Sheila Copps and former PM Kim Campbell were treated to name but a few.  This past week a Claresholm town Councillor having her life threatened in her own home by an invader for being political, check any female politicians twitter feed to note the abuse and stalker-like behavioural patterns.

Many astute commentators pointed out it is not a partisan issue, but rather an institutional issue.

Yet, sadly,  it does not surprise me. For the same power over people structures that allow this abuse to be ingrained generation over generation that it is acceptable and our voice does not matter. That perpetuates forced silence of the abused. The #Metoo movement is re-telling an ancient, and modern story. We saw it with the bravery in Sheldon Kennedy breaking the silence over sexual violence in hockey. In the persons with disabilities world silence breakers. We first saw it with the monsters revealed preying on our daughters in classrooms, and now showing that predators come in both genders (although how Riverdale got away with putting forward Archie-Miss Grundy as a relationship and not what it was—teacher rape of a student, though there was some minor redemption with the Black Hood story-line of season 2. But be honest with yourself, it could not have been played off as a relationship or affair if it had been Veronica and Mr. Weatherbee).

Spotlight and the breaking of silence around Cleric abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. That we know statistically is the same within all religious systems, where power works to silence the abused (regardless of gender or sexuality). We can hypothesize the sexual violence against women based on report versus non-report, against males it is harder because of the societal constructs working against it (note the Archie-Grundy myth perpetuating). But the story is not different it is the use of power.

It is a multi-generational trauma highlighted in the TRC in Canada; yet we need to understand it is a generational trauma passed down through thousands of years of conquering/colonialism that stretches at the very least back to the Roman Empire, but probably pre-dates that.

It is a society knowing homelessness, addiction, violence, mental illness and crime are symptoms of something deeper but would rather deal with the symptoms than the actual cancer.  Root cause missed in entertainment with stars blowing out, crashing mentally, overdosing, or doing 180’s that made no sense…the bread crumbs were there if we only wanted to know…

Same as the pain from acting out athletes, or the children of religious sexual violence.

But it is a system that allows Bountiful, B.C.’s pedophile community to declare themselves polygamous. A system where the person is commodified, and not seen as truly a whole person.

Yes, we are more open about talking about sexual violence than we have been in the past. In the past, though there were those in families or communities that worked hard to try to protect the young from it being passed on. Even as simple as a matriarch or patriarch refusing the grandchild to sleepover knowing the other was a predator. Neighbours that would become sanctuaries for children or others in need.

            Why does it continue?

Because we allow our voice to be divided. We allow the command, power and control to continue setting the story. We can speak of #timesup, but without unity of those abused by the corrupt structures of power …speaking as one to shatter them…it will all to easily be lost as a news story and relegated to just another news cycle ala school shootings in the U.S.A., or the annual story that churches should really do something about misogyny.

I wish I could say this is a problem of the last 100 or so years. Yet it is a problem heightened in the social media world of Millennials and Generation Z where they see the power abuse structure as so normative that social media is used to terrorize, commodity individuals until they believe their only option for safety is death. Let that sink in for where we are at in human history.

For I have contemplated these verses many time in my ministry. Told time and again that they were to be read in light of his Easter Resurrection, yet today in history I am convinced more than ever they speak to our world transformation. The foundations we are to shake:

18On account of this, the Jews demanded, “What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?” 19Jesus answered, “Destroy thistemple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”20“This temple took forty-six years to build,” the Jews replied, “and You are going to raise it up in three days?”…

-John 2:18-20 (Berean Study Bible)

The Temple of Jesus’ day was corrupted: used by the powers to be to oppress, abuse, commodity of human beings and use the people. Sound familiar?

His Mother, Mary of Nazareth and his earthly father, Joseph, led the way in showing what could exist with true equality and a new way. The way Jesus taught. One of full inclusion, equality and love for all in the human family and creation.

That is what verse 19 is truly about. Shattering the corruption. Tearing down the temple and rebuilding what is truly meant to be. Or in our hashtag world to the monsters and predators in one unified voice: #timesup.

And the response is the one that is still heard today by the command and control power structure—this took so long to build what are you going to do in 3 days.

Well according to ancient myth poetry of Jesus’ people, in the first 3 days of creation the Holy Mystery, well, she birthed the very good foundation of the cosmos.

Today, let us join voices together across all those who have been abused. Let our voices that are new to the fight, or have been battling longer unheard than any not lose sight of the goal. Let us join our voices together without labels, in the truth that we need to stand firm in. Let us shatter this corrupt temple, and yes…let us build the world where we all belong, we are all honoured, and we know true love of self and neighbour.

Join in tearing down…so that together we can birth the new hope that this light is shining.

The statement for this day is not do we believe. But rather do we stand firm that this must end.

Is it not time to build a world we keep paying lip service to.

A world where all are safe and belong.

A world where the true cause of pain has been exorcised and light truly reigns?

Are we ready to stand with our neighbour against those that prey?

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