Retired Bishop Fred Henry, once active in the Diocese of Calgary, has recently voiced concerns over the narratives surrounding the missing children from Indian residential schools.
From his hospital bed in Calgary, Henry challenged the prevailing claims. “Why is the Catholic Church not asking the federal government for proof that even one residential school child is actually missing?” he asked in an email sent to The Catholic Register.
This isn’t the first time Bishop Henry has taken such a stance.
In 2016, he addressed a letter to Carolyn Bennett, the then federal minister of aboriginal affairs, asserting that the entire responsibility shouldn’t be placed solely on the Catholic Church. He pointed out various initiatives by 50 Catholic entities to financially support survivors of residential schools.
In the midst of these claims, two significant Church figures, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Archbishop Don Bolen of Regina, emphasize patience. They believe the primary focus should be on reconciliation and the true stories of Indigenous peoples. Bolen states, “The bishops are rightfully focusing on the task of reconciliation, not so much on evaluating or analyzing a particular report.”
Yet, Bishop Henry remains firm in his position, feeling that the Church is in danger of being painted in a negative light. He worries that silence on the matter could do significant harm.
“It’s the Catholic Church” that will be held responsible, he claims.
Pray for the truth!