As a Canadian Catholic I have much to think about this Canada day over the discovery of more unmarked graves of children from residential schools run by Catholic missionaries and churches.
Compared to other countries Canada has developed a rather spotless history compared to most western countries. Slavery and Civil War blackens the States, and Colonialism, Imperialism, Exploitations, Slavery, and dozens of medieval and modern crimes of European countries blacken their histories even darker. Whereas Europeans largely reduced their neighbors to rubbles in earlier times along with all the pillage and plunder involved, North America was developed by less by conquest of the sword as conquest of culture, technology and smaller military engagements.
Residential schools are a dark spot on Canadian history and the Canadian Catholic Church had a part to play in them. I pray for this crime against so many people.
I thinking about all the stupidity that must have been involved in committing these crimes it started to make me feel sadder even more about the state of the Church in Canada. (people burning Churches in Canada is a result of popular hatred)
I am not going to get into the details of it all here, but offer one glimpse of hope for the Church in Vatican II.
Vatican II in its declaration of religious liberty, in its desire to reach out to the culture and its desire to evangelize the culture from within has such a great promise to it!
Vatican II’s mindset is such that something like residential schools would be out of the question. In fact, Vatican II’s mindset would promote something the opposite! Going out understanding a culture, bringing Christ to it and become the preserver of its cultural uniqueness.
Vatican II took a great stride forward from the mentality of Catholicism that got swept up with a Imperial Europe which sought to control populations overseas and ‘bring civilization’ with them. Now Catholicism never officially endorsed this mindset, the fact is sometimes its people did. Catholics have sought to force a European Catholicism upon others rather than a Catholicism suited for the people which takes their best and brings it to Christ.
That is what gives me hope — If my ancestors in Canada thought that getting ride of a culture and took kids away to places where some would die of TB was justified to bring them a European idea set —Vatican II clearly shows us that it is Christ’s was to respect the culture of others, respect their religious liberty and evangelize from within instead.