Catholics: Demand that the Church fairly compensate residential school survivors

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Catholics: Demand that the Church fairly compensate residential school survivors

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Catholics: Let's show some solidarity and tell our Church that reconciliation matters to us. 

For over 100 years, government-funded and church-run residential schools were set up to eliminate parental involvement in the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual development of Indigenous children in Canada. 

During this era, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools often against their parents' wishes. Many were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. While there is an estimated 80,000 former students living today, the ongoing impact of residential schools has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist. 

In 2007, an historic settlement agreement was reached that called on those churches that played a role in the administration of the schools to compensate former students and contribute to ongoing healing initiatives, beginning a long and ongoing process of reconciliation. 

But some churches are failing to live up to the terms set forth in this agreement. Recent media coverage has brought to light that the Catholic entities were released from a large portion of their financial obligations under the settlement. $25 million in cash and a tabulated $29 million in in-kind donations have been paid. But there were to have been "best efforts" made to raise another $25 million through concerted fundraising efforts. The Catholic entities are coming up $20-21 million short of their fundraising goal. This is outrageous, considering the generations of harm to Indigenous peoples for which the Catholic church is directly responsible. 

Indigenous peoples are rightly outraged and are calling on the Pope to renew pressure on Catholic groups to meet their obligations. As Catholics, we have a responsibility to pressure our church to follow through on its commitments and relaunch its fundraising campaign efforts. 

On March 31st, 2016, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, the Canadian Religious Conference, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace jointly issued two responses to the TRC Calls to Action #48 and 49, signalling a step towards reconciliation. These statements are meaningless if not accompanied by action. 

Let's show our church that reconciliation matters to us as Catholics. Sign the petition, write your Bishop, send letters to the editor, talk to your fellow parishioners, and CALL ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO FULFILL ITS FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS!! 

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