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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Letter: Reflections on the Pope, reconciliation and moving forward

Dear editor:

I wonder if you overlooked the hateful and vindictive language used by Kaspar Pold in his rant against Pope Francis, “Pope’s planned apology for abuse is travesty,” Letter, June 16).

Even the headline is distorted.

Online social media platforms such as Twitter have taken measures to remove such posts so as to prevent further entrenchment of hatred and incitement of vengeful acts.

I presume that a professional editor would refuse to publish the type of rage that Mr. Pold exhibited toward the Pope.

Secondly, I believe we are all enraged and horrified by what happened to our Indigenous children, their parents and families.

We are rendered speechless, however, we are in the process of bearing witness to their immeasurable pain and suffering, their ongoing grief and traumatization – an unfortunate but necessary component of the Truth and Reconciliation process.

We, too, experience anger and rage in the knowledge of the heinous acts that occurred to the children, that there was a systematic plan in place to annihilate the Indigenous culture, and the concerted efforts on the part of our politicians and religious leaders to ignore, hide, avoid and overlook sustainable rectification.

Mr. Pold says the Pope should be tried for murder as soon as he deplanes. This logic suggests that all popes, kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents be tried for injustices committed during or before their tenure.

The pain and anger that Mr. Pold might be experiencing is incomparable to the intensity of pain and suffering that Indigenous Peoples of this land have been experiencing – unless of course, he is a direct victim of the systemic abuses.

If that is the case my heart goes out to him.  Recovery, rehabilitation and restoration are essential but arduous aspects of the journey toward restitution.

On initial reading I sensed his anger, but upon rereading his letter, a great sense of sadness and compassion overcame me. He is stuck in a dark place, in my opinion.

I fear he has missed the meaning of the process of Truth and Reconciliation Commission – a world-recognized model – being utilized in South American countries as well as Australia and New Zealand, and derived from the plight of the rampant apartheid in South Africa.

I am grateful and inspired by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. The Pope has already apologized. He is coming to bear witness to the pain of all, to ask forgiveness and to pray for all to heal, including Mr. Pold.

The central focus of the TRC is to derive truth through acknowledgement – those horrendous acts did indeed occur.

Our society must hear and listen to the stories of victims, it must ascertain the testimony of the accused perpetrators, to identify the abusers and the enablers, the politicians and the religious, and the role of the society that allowed it.

I am hopeful that all parties come to realize there is no excuse or apology that can change what has actually happened to our Indigenous children, their parents and their families.

An apology is a necessary component. It enables forgiveness – a gift we give to ourselves. It enables victims to move forward. It is a beginning.

As with all forms of loss, all parties must go through the process of grief – not around, over or above it, but to experience it with all its sorrow.

In so doing, we too are free to move forward. Our Indigenous Peoples also` have become authentic role models for all Canadians and leaders throughout the world.

My prayer for Mr. Pold is to get through his pain and to recognize that an apology is a means to an end toward healing, hope, reconciliation and peace.

Nancy Macri