Catholic Response to Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 48

“I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God … Like St. John Paul II I ask that the Church kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters’.”
Pope Francis
July 9, 2015


Joint Statement of Bishop Brian Dunn and Archbishop Anthony Mancini of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth 


To acknowledge and heal the legacy of residential schools in our country, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued 94 Calls to Action.

Action 48:
“We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.”

The Catholic response to Call to Action 48 has been developed and issued by:
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Canadian Religious Conference
Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace

“…the deeply-flawed policies behind the schools, and the abusive actions of some of the personnel among them, left a legacy of suffering,” the response acknowledges.

Two documents have been issued:
1. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(Click here to view document)

2. Examination of the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ and terra nullius (no one’s land) and acknowledgement that their use by Europeans to seize the lands of Indigenous peoples was flawed and harmful to the Indigenous culture and our country.|
(Click here to view document)

“The Truth and Reconciliation Report stressed that a recognition of past wrong ought to be accompanied by a practical commitment to heal enduring injustices.” Both documents include an appeal to all Catholics to reflect on and participate in eight listed commitments in the areas of faith, education, health care, restorative justice, and cultural respect. “in the hope and desire to continue to walk together with Indigenous Peoples in building a more just society where their gifts and those of all people are nurtured and honoured.”

There are seven First Nations communities in the Diocese of Antigonish.
“It is our plan to meet with Chiefs from each of these communities to consider the appropriate followup in our diocese,” said Bishop Brian Dunn.

Further reading:

Catholic Responses to Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to Action 48 and questions regarding the "Doctrine of Discovery"