by Tim Korso
The unearthing of a mass of unmarked graves containing the remains of indigenous children who were forced to study in residential schools often run by the Roman Catholic Church, sparked a scandal in Canada and outrage against religious institutions seen as responsible for the children’s untimely deaths.
Father Rhéal Forest, the acting pastor of a parish in Winnipeg, Canada, has been forbidden by the local archdiocese to hold sermons or make any public statement after he cast doubt on claims of abuse by survivors of the country’s residential school system.
The residential schools functioned in Canada between 1828 and 1997, and forcibly removed more than 150,000 indigenous children from their families to assimilate them through the system of Roman Catholic schools. The practice resulted not only in numerous abuses, according to the survivors, but also in death, through negligence, of many of the pupils, as has been shown by the recently uncovered graves.
Father Forest, however, expressed his disbelief in the recently uncovered evidence of the abuses having taken place in the now-defunct residential school system, suggesting during one of his sermons in July that people who are claiming to have suffered abuse are, in fact, lying to get more money out of the settlement with the government.
“If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes — lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000. It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie,” Forest said.
The pastor opposed the accounts of the residential schools’ survivors with his own experience of meeting people who completed their education in them without any incident, and actually praised the system. He added that he himself worked for 22 years in the residential school system and heard mostly positive feedback about it with the exception of few reports of abuse. Forest noted that the majority of the negative reports concerned the behaviour of the night watchmen rather than nuns and priests working in these schools.
Blame Fake News Media and Free Masons!
The public outrage resulting from the recent unearthing of unmarked mass graves belonging to former residential schools, largely targeted the clergymen who used to work in these institutions. The scandal resulted in numerous churches and statues of the saints in Canada being vandalised. The latter act greatly disappointed Forest, who said he wanted to use a shotgun against those vandalising the churches, before backtracking on his statements, claiming they were a joke.
“As I’m passing by, thoughts of anger. If I had a shotgun at night and I saw them, I’d go, ‘Boom!’ just to scare them and if they didn’t run away, I’d shoot them,” the man of the cloth said, while laughing.
Forest went on to blame the media for spreading “fake news” about the residential schools and those who, in his opinion, control these outlets for trying to “crush the Catholic church”.
“This is the evilness of the media, media is run by freemasons,” the pastor said.
The clergyman’s eyebrow-raising statements were captured on video and posted on Facebook as part of the local parish’s custom, eventually drawing the attention of Winnipeg’s archdiocese. The latter barred the priest from delivering any more sermons which would spark any controversy or teaching before the matter is handled. The archdiocese said it “completely disavows” Forest’s statements and is presently contemplating some sort of condign punishment for the chatty clergyman.