Witnesses to Murder in Catholic Indian schools to Protest at the Vatican, Testify before Italian Parliamentarians
Rome, Thursday, March 25, 2010
Aboriginal elders from Canada will offer prayers for their friends and relatives who died or were killed in Catholic Indian residential schools, at the institution in Rome responsible for their death. And they will name Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as the one ultimately responsible.
Lillian Shirt of the Cree Nation and Charles Cook of the Anishinabe-Ojibway Nation will gather with Rev. Kevin Annett and other members of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) and Italian supporters at a memorial service outside the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square on Easter morning, Sunday April 4 at 11 am.
Both of the native elders survived incarceration in Catholic Indian schools in Canada, and witnessed the deaths of other students.
Declaration of the FRD Delegation (Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared) concerning their purpose and goals while in Italy and Europe
March 26, 2010
The four of us have been authorized by survivors of the murderous Catholic and Protestant Indian residential schools in Canada, and the elders of the FRD, to come to Europe and to Italy to achieve the following:
1. Share the truth of the deliberate genocide planned and carried out by Christian churches, in alliance with the government of Canada, against generations of native people, causing the deaths of more than 50,000 children.
2. Confront the Vatican and Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, for their church’s primary role, through the Jesuits and other groups, in creating these “schools” as part of a centuries old plan to conquer and destroy all non-Christian people.
3. Demand from the Vatican officaldom and the Pope that they:
a) assume full public responsibility for the residential school crimes, including the deaths of children
b) revoke the papal bulls known as Romanus Pontifex (1455) and Inter Catera (1493), which legally sanctioned this genocide
c) identify and repatriate the remains of all children who died in Catholic Indian residential schools across Canada, for a proper burial
d) surrender those responsible or implicated in these deaths, and in residential school crimes, along with all evidence related to these crimes held by the Catholic church
e) appear before a public, international Tribunal of inquiry into these crimes, and
f) revoke the policy of the Catholic church to deny and conceal the on-going abuse of children by priests and other church offcers.
4. Present evidence of the Canadian genocide to the Italian media, public and to parliamentarians in the Chamber of Deputies, and ask the latter to endorse an international inquiry into crimes of Genocide by church and state in Canada
We are aware that justice has eluded survivors of abuse and genocide at the hands of the church because the latter conceives itself and operates as a law unto itself, and absolved of any liability for the crimes of its clergy and members. We believe that until this situation is changed, and the Roman Catholic and other churches face criminal charges for their wrongs, the crimes we have experienced and documented will continue.
We therefore urge people to urge the government of Italy to make the Pope and his church answerable to the law and liable, morally and legally, for their crimes against the innocent, both in the past and the present.
We also invite you to join with us to compel the Pope to answer the charge of genocide brought against him and his church, and support our demands on him and all churches responsible for these crimes.
In that spirit, we invite you to join us at St. Peter’s square in Rome on Easter morning, Sunday April 4, at 11 am, for a public memorial service for the missing residential school children.
Help us to bring the murdered residential school children home. In their name, we thank you,
The FRD delegation
Elder Charles Cook, Anishinabe Nation, survivor of Catholic residential schools
Elder Lillian Shirt, Cree Nation, survivor of catholic residential schools
Rev. Kevin Annett
Authorized by the Elders Council, FRD national (Canada)
Elder Jeremiah Jourdain, convenor
Video Coverage from FRD’s demonstration in the Vatican: