As Canadians reflect on how we can respond to the pain and suffering experienced by survivors of residential schools and their loved ones, the Archdiocese of Toronto is committed to being directly engaged in the ongoing journey of truth and reconciliation.
While the archdiocese did not operate residential schools, we have a responsibility to take genuine and meaningful steps to journey with Indigenous communities on the path to reconciliation, and to assist in healing the trauma experienced from the residential school system.
We are currently establishing working groups, each enriched by Indigenous voices, to help guide and support our efforts. To that end, the archdiocese has identified the following priorities:
We recognize the journey to reconciliation is one that will continue for years to come. As we reflect on the role of the Catholic Church in operating residential schools, we echo the words of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1991:
“We apologize for the existence of the schools themselves, recognizing that the biggest abuse was not what happened in the schools, but that the schools themselves happened…We wish to apologize in a very particular way for the instances of physical and sexual abuse that occurred in those schools…Far from attempting to defend or rationalize these cases of abuse in any way, we wish to state publicly that we acknowledge they were inexcusable, intolerable and a betrayal of trust in one of its most serious forms. We deeply and very specifically, apologize to every victim of such abuse and we seek help in searching for means to bring about healing.”
We will continue to keep you updated as these initiatives develop. Additional information and resources can be found by visiting: www.archtoronto.org/residentialschools.