Friends, “that’s the strangest language you’ve heard in a long time.”
This coming from former Premier and an astute a Dene leader as we’ll ever have, about Pope Francis not wanting to personally apologize for the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in the notorious residential schools.
The confusion stems from decidedly befuddling words, by this head of the office of the spiritual centre of the Catholic Church, saying both, that he cannot personal say he is sorry for the misery caused caused a total of one hundred and fifty thousand survivors and their relatives. But, he just may be able to come for a Papal visit.
The central issue seems to have to do with Canadian church officials wanting us to more concern ourselves with reconciliation, on a local level.
Kakfwi further brings the point home, taking us back to the time of the first Papal visit, of Pope Paul II, in 1987, in that one of the main results was that many of our elders, now gone, at least got to see the leader of the Church they so believed in.
The real losers in this sad tale, friends, are the many like them among us, who both want to heal from the scars of an attempt at cultural genocide and believe that they are still on the right side of God.
What makes this a very real concern is this it is a major part of the recommendations set forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and backed by Prime Minister Trudeau himself, with a special appeal to the Papal office.
It takes an insightful political insider like Stephen Kakfwi to suggest that this may be all about church politics, with the Pope, yes, having some say, but all of the king’s men, the bishops and cardinals grasping for a turn at the wheels of power.
Besides those like Kakfwi, one leader who is making the most sense in all of this are ones like former Chief Francois Paulette, who soberly explains that reconciliation, in Chipewyan Dene, means “to take down and start over”, which is about this size of it.
Most telling of all is that the former pope resigned over exactly these kinds of issues, of the growing number of sexual abuses and scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.
Caught right in the middle are the ones, like newly ordained Bishop Jon Hansen, who has to somehow explain to our 32 northern communities why their pope won’t apologize.
Mahsi, thank you.