(Archbishop of Ottawa Terrence Prendergast)
APTN National News
The Archbishop of Ottawa Terrence Prendergast says the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is “asking for too much” by demanding the Pope apologize to residential school survivors in Canada.
The TRC on Tuesday called for the Pope to apologize within one year.
“There are channels and ways in which things are normally handled,” Prendergast said. “You can ask for the moon and settle for something less.”
Prendergast also said the Church’s intent was never to inflict harm on the thousands of Indigenous children that cycled through its schools, but rather to give them the “faith.”
“We don’t see giving the faith as spiritual harm, we consider it good,” he said. “It may have been communicated in an improper way and therefore harmed people, but that was not our intent.”
At least 3,200 children died in residential schools, the TRC said.
After the TRC unveiled its 94 recommendations at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa, TRC Chair Murray Sinclair said it was important for the Pope to issue an official apology.
The Vatican embassy in Ottawa said it was sending the report to Rome.
“There is still a need for there to be a very clear apology and acknowledgement of the impact the church has had and the fact that the church takes responsibility for the wrongs that have been perpetrated upon survivors by those who were working with the children in the name of the church,” said Sinclair.
Pope Benedict issued an apology in 2010 for decades of sex abuse in Ireland.
Sinclair said the absence of an apology gives Church officials deniability from the abuses committed at residential schools under the care of their religious institution.
“In the absence of an apology it allows those who work in the name of the church to be able to say because their leadership denied or has not acknowledged responsibility that they can deny responsibility as well and we don’t want that to continue,” said Sinclair.
Pendergast said the Pope was planning a visit to Canada in 2017.