A Canadian court authorized the sale of dozens of properties of the Catholic Church in Canada, including more than a dozen templesto pay compensation to victims of sexual and physical abuse committed decades ago by Catholic religious.
The judicial authorization allows the sale of the properties in 34 parishes on the island of Newfoundlandon the Canadian Atlantic coast, including the cathedral basilica of Saint John the Baptist in Saint John of Newfoundland.
According to documents released by the Canadian network CBC, most of the properties for sale, with an estimated value of 15.5 million dollarss, will be purchased by Catholic organizations and groups.
In addition, Canadian courts could approve in the coming weeks the sale of 70 other properties of the Catholic Church in Newfoundland.
The money obtained will be destined to compensate the victims of the Mount Cashel Orphanagean institution of San Juan de Terranova run for more than a century by the congregation of the Christian Brothers.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated from 1893 to 1978. Photo: Reuters.
In 1986 a police investigation began to reveal the sexual and physical abuse committed for decades in the orphanage by the religious, and between 1989 and 1992 a royal commission investigated the allegations.
The commission’s final report found that the Church and local authorities, including the Mounted Policethey had hidden the abuses in the institution, in which they were interned kids that they were not orphans but had been placed in custody of the province and that closed its doors in 1990.
A total of 11 religious were sentenced sentences of between 4 months and 11 years in prison, and in 1992 the Christian Brothers congregation officially apologized to the victims, but the Irish congregation also declared bankruptcy, which made it impossible to pay compensation.
For decades, hundreds of victims of abuse fought for compensationUntil in 2019 the courts ruled that the Episcopal Corporation of said creed in San Juan de Terranova was indirectly responsible for the abuses committed.
The approval of the sale of the properties of the Catholic Church in Newfoundland comes shortly before on July 24 arrive in Canada Pope Francis to apologize to the indigenous people.
The forgiveness of the Church and the last priest arrested
Last month, Canadian police arrested retired Catholic priest Arthur Masse, 92, for allegedly sexually assaulting an indigenous student. five decades ago.
Son the most recent charges filed against one of those involved in the scandal of the religious boarding schools of that country, which operated from 1863 to 1998 and that in its surroundings were found in 2021 more than 1,300 tombs and graves.
He was charged with indecent assault and later placed on probation, although he must appear in court this wednesday july 20.
The victim who led to Masse’s arrest was 10 years old when, he alleged, the abuse began at Fort Alexander boarding school in Manitoba between 1968 and 1970.
For his part, Pope Francis apologized for the tragedy of violence perpetrated for decades in Catholic boarding schools for indigenous people in Canada, and expressed his desire to travel to that country at the end of this month.
“I ask sorry bye” and “I join my brother Canadian bishops in apologizing,” the pontiff declared in April, during an audience at the Vatican before the Métis, Inuit and First Peoples of Canada delegations.
Through the voices of the indigenous “I have received, with great sadness in my heart, the stories of suffering, deprivation, discriminatory treatment and various forms of abuse suffered by several of you, especially in boarding schools“, declared the Argentine pope.
Francisco lambasted the “ideological colonization” and the “assimilation action” of which “so many children were victims”.
Coincidentally, last February an influential cardinal apologized for clergy sexual abuse.
It was Bergoglio’s “minister” for Bishops, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who declared: “I want to express our sincere sorrow and apologize to the victims who have their lives destroyed by abusive and criminal behavior.”
A dark history in boarding schools
Between the end of the 19th century and the 1980s, some 150,000 indigenous, mestizo and Eskimo children they were forcibly recruited from 139 boarding schools in Canada.
thousands of them diedmostly from malnutrition, disease or neglect, in what the Committee for Truth and Reconciliation called “cultural genocide,” according to a 2015 report. Others were physically or sexually abused.
They operated from 1863 to 1998 and it is estimated that 150,000 children were taken by force.
The Canadian government has admitted that physical and sexual abuse was common in schools, and that students were beaten for speaking in their native languages.
Almost three quarters of the 130 schools residences were run by catholic missionary congregations.
The legacy of these abuses and the isolation of the family have been cited by indigenous leaders as one of the main causes of the epidemic rates of alcohol and drug addiction on Canadian reservations.