Manitoba’s capital city of Winnipeg A small girl’s white winter coat is unwrapped from Victoria McIntosh’s handbag and laid out on the table. Before she was sent to Fort Alexander residential school in the 1960s, her grandma made it for her, she recalls. But a nun stole her coat, she recalls.
“That nun took it off of me and threw it at my mom,” CNN spoke to her about it. As a result of this, she claims that the nun dubbed her mother a “savage.” For years, McIntosh claims, she was sexually molested by a priest at the institution. A child should never have to endure what he did to me. As a result, I would break down and weep. It occurred to him that he’d done it. I’m baffled as to why. Then why are you so upset with me?
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She has identified the priest as Arthur Masse, a 92-year-old who served as a priest at a residential school in Manitoba for more than a decade before retiring. Accused of sexual assault in June, Masse has yet to enter a plea. That which McIntosh went through was never forgiven by McIntosh‘s mother. This isn’t your fault; you had no option,” she tells him.
In contrast, McIntosh feels no remorse for the Catholic Church, despite its best efforts to atone. Earlier this week, Pope Francis flew to Canada, where he plans to personally apologize to indigenous peoples for the Catholic Church’s involvement in the government-sponsored residential school system.
Particular attention is being paid to the suffering of indigenous children who have been separated from their families, forbidden from speaking their native tongue, and forced to give up their culture, which in many cases has resulted in abuse on the physical, sexual, and emotional levels.
“Kneel down as you instructed us to. Kneel as if you were children and beg for forgiveness “As for the pope, McIntosh had this to say.
In September 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that at least 150,000 Indigenous children across the country have been affected by the country’s first national holiday remembering victims and survivors.
Unwillingness To Forgive
“I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools,” the Pope said on Monday.
However, despite the fact that the pontiff’s visit was at the request of Indigenous leaders, Joe Daniels, another Fort Alexander survivor, predicts that many people would view the pontiff’s apology with ambivalence and apathy. “Someone had to go to Rome to go and practically beg this guy to come here and apologize, why couldn’t he have done it on his own from here?” Daniels points to his heart as he says this. His community members have been waiting for an apology for years, and Daniels is aware of this.
The Catholic Church finally apologized to Canadian Indigenous leaders who visited the Vatican in April after decades of refusing to accept responsibility. Henry Bouvard, an 80-year-old survivor of a residential school, feels it’s too late to make reparations. “You took away my education, you took away my life, you took away my marriage, you took away my identity, you took away everything I wanted to be. Now it’s nothing, and you say I’m sorry,” Shaking his head, he comments on the Pope’s apologies.