$300m raised for buildings but couldn’t raise $25m for residential school survivors

Catholic church raised $300m

Despite raising nearly $300m for buildings since 2005, the Catholic Church only raised $3.9m of the $25m it promised for residential school survivors.

In 2005 the Canadian government reached a deal with the Indigenous people as reparation for residential schools survivors.

Part of the ‘Indian Residential School Settlement’ (IRSS) involved the Catholic Church raising $25m. The money was to go towards healing programs for survivors.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops declined a CBC News request to ask its member bishops for the details of money raised.

However, a figure of $292m resulted from searches of individual dioceses’ websites and other public sources by CBC News.

These include a $128-million renovation of St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto.

The 2016 gala opening was held one year after Canadian church groups went to court to say there was no more fundraising money for survivors.

Critics say this throws into question the church’s legal claim it gave “best efforts” to help survivors.

In the landmark 2005 IRSS agreement, one of the Catholic church’s promises was to give “best efforts” at fundraising $25 million for survivors.

The church went to court and pointed to the “best efforts” clause, saying they’d tried their best. On July 16, 2015, the judge agreed and absolved the church of its legal obligation.

“They didn’t keep their promise. You can’t just say, ‘Oh, we tried. That’s too bad,'” Star Blanket Cree Nation Chief Michael Starr said.

“There is a lot of hate, a lot of anger out there. The church has to work with us. It has to be tangible. Keep your promise.”

Following the discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves in multiple residential schools in Canada, Starr, survivors and others wanted the church to revive its efforts.

An official with the Archdiocese of Toronto said Monday they are “open” to fundraising again for survivors, but no decision has been made.

In a written statement, the diocese said “to be clear that is not saying no. It is saying that we need to carefully discern how to best approach such an effort.”

Starr, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron and others say they’ve had 15 years to do what’s right. So, they aren’t sure why officials are only starting to think about it again now.

They said if the Catholic church raised $300m, then all current Catholic fundraising for buildings must be paused while money is raised for survivors.




Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,