Restorative Justice and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Brother Michael Maher shares the following reflection and series of tweets surrounding Pope Francis’ apology regarding the lack of the Church’s response regarding Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

Here are a series of tweets, first from the Pope and from PM Trudeau, and then from trusted advocates and defenders of the Indigenous people, Cindy Blackstock and Tania Talaga. Both are very well respected among the Indigenous groups in Canada. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the failure of the Pope to respond to the request from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission five-six years ago, and the failure to respond to a request from Trudeau on a papal visit a year ago, has stuck in the craw of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous advocates. I think sensitivity to the issues calls for us – non-Indigenous people, colonialists, to hear the narrative from the voices of the Indigenous, Blackstock and Talaga. I also suspect that it is a genuine learning entry point for non-Indigenous into restorative justice practices.

Pope Francis (@Pontifex) tweeted at 11:05 a.m. on Fri., Apr. 01, 2022: I feel shame for the role that a number of Catholics with educational responsibilities have had in the abuse and lack of respect for the identity, culture and spiritual values of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) tweeted at 1:31 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 01, 2022: Pope Francis’ apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in operating residential schools in Canada would not have happened without the advocacy of Survivors. To those who shared their truths, and relived their painful memories with bravery and determination: Thank you.

Cindy Blackstock (@cblackst) tweeted at 2:42 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 01, 2022: The victims had to ask the Church for the apology and travelled to the home of the wrongdoer to get it. It was the same with the Canadian Government. I honour those who went. I am just sad they had to go. The best apology is changed behaviour.

Tanya Talaga (@TanyaTalaga) tweeted at 7:27 a.m. on Fri., Apr. 01, 2022: “We accept this apology as a gesture of good faith, that he will come to our home, Turtle Island,” to continue the apology, say it for all of our people and family, said Gerald Antoine, Dene Nation, the Assembly of First Nations lead delegate to Rome. @AFN_Updates

Other News from ERCBNA