To the Editor:
Like the rest of the nation I spent this weekend reflecting on the latest revelations in our country’s saddest chapter. The remains of 215 children discovered at the site of the residential school in Kamloops, their deaths believed to be undocumented. What makes times like these so difficult is the sense of helplessness we all feel. When something evil and tragic occurs we all collectively wish there was something we could do too. Often times though, when faced with a public tragedy such as this, the constructive actions available to us are limited to empathy and kindness.
This, however, is not one of those situations. There is something very concrete that you and I can do, to show solidarity with those most deeply affected by this crime and to seek a measure of justice, however small it may be, for the victims.
The Catholic Church has abused and brutalized tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of children. At every juncture, on every continent they have hidden, obfuscated and denied justice for their victims. For decades they have compiled and documented evidence of many thousands of minors abused by their priests and rather than turning this evidence over to authorities, have chosen to hide it away.
The people of Canada have chosen to begin the process of reconciliation. As we have rewritten our curriculums to reflect unflattering truths, and begun the process of compensating victims and their families, I ask you, what has the Catholic Church contributed to this process?
The Catholic Church has yet to issue an apology for its role in Canada’s residential school system.
The Catholic Church has yet to pay a nickel in compensation to the victims or their families.
The Catholic Church is yearly implicated in new sexual abuse cases in this country and around the world.
In spite of these facts, the Catholic Church still enjoys a privileged place in this country.
If you want to be a part of the solution, write your MP to demand the government of Canada hold the Catholic Church responsible for its reprehensible crimes. Demand that this church be treated exactly the same as any organization found to be actively covering up centuries of child rape and murder.
Niki Ashton, I ask you to stand up in the House of Commons and demand that the government of Canada holds the Catholic Church to account for its crimes.