To the Editor:
I grew up a proud Catholic girl in a small Ontario town. My grandparents were especially proud and active in the church. I have a picture of them shaking hands with Pope John Paul, which I held onto, again with pride. I would display it in my office alongside pictures of my own three young children. My grandfather was a long-term member and head of Knights of Columbus for many years. I recall award ceremonies in his honour where he would donate significant amounts of money back to the church. I also remember at his funeral there were knights lining the church with their swords in the air as we walked by. There were so many Priests and Bishops attending that three had to stand with the choir as there was no more room on the alter. Again, I was so proud to have this Catholic title. We felt like royalty! This was the path to save man-kind, right?
Growing up in a Catholic school, we learned about the Bible, about Jesus and sacrifice. We learned about confession and sins. We were NEVER educated about the history of the church or of the residential schools they enforced. I am 37 years old now with my own growing family and am completely disgusted and embarrassed of the horrific actions they participated in. Or lead, rather. I am just truly learning about the history now, in 2021!
I have cautiously voiced my opinion to some close, also Catholic, family members. And again, with shock, get a casual response like “well, I guess they were doing what they thought was best…” …. I don’t have a response for that. Not one I can articulate on paper. I’m disgusted at the excuses of the church and its continued followers.
I’m losing my faith in organized religion altogether. I agree with the idea as coming together as a community. Having something greater than ourselves to believe in. Being there for each other, our neighbours, when needed. But this is not what “we” Catholics have done at all. We stole our neighbour’s babies, raped them, used them as test subjects, killed them and killed the babies they created while in “our care”. It’s the most shameful Sin I can think of…the most brutal act to a human. When I look at an Aboriginal community, I don’t just see race or culture. I see a mother. An auntie. A Grandma. A Father. A grandfather. The love we have for our children is UNIVERSAL. I feel their loss and pain so strong I can’t type this without tears. But of course, I will never truly understand. I’m a white, Catholic woman with all the rights and freedoms anyone could desire.
So, I am leaving the church and taking my family with me. I send healing prayers and wishes to all of those impacted by the horrific history of the church and our government. And I encourage anyone else as outraged as I am to speak up in whatever capacity you feel comfortable.
(name withheld by special request)