Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 25, 2008
Bishops, Fontaine meet to discuss residential school healing process
By Canadian Catholic News
Healing and reconciliation formed the agenda for a meeting of Catholic bishops with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine here July 16.
"I recognize that thousands of Catholic men and women religious worked during the Indian residential schools era in what they sincerely believed to be in the best interest of Indian residential school students," Fontaine said in a written statement.
"However, it is important for these religious entities to both openly acknowledge their role in Indian residential schools and to hear directly from First Nations regarding their experiences."
Joining Fontaine were Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier of Rimouski, Quebec, Archbishop Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan and two other Quebec bishops.
Fontaine said he viewed the Catholic entities as allies in the healing process for residential school survivors.
Fournier pointed out Catholic organizations began efforts to restore relations with First Nations people decades before the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was reached.
Together, the Church and aboriginal groups must "move beyond the legacy of the flawed (residential schools) system," he said.