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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Speaks Up On Church Burnings

Since June 21, at least eight churches have been burned– most of them Catholic– and has alarmed Canadian authorities.

In recent weeks, Canada has seen massive fire incidents occurring as multiple churches have been vandalized and razed to the ground.

Since June 21, at least eight churches have been burned– most of them Catholic– and has alarmed Canadian authorities.

Almost two weeks since the first of the fires, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally spoken up. (Read: Legazpi Bishop Saddened As Vandals Wreck Padre Pio Church)

The Prime Minister said that he “understands the anger that’s out there against the federal government, against institutions like the Catholic Church given the shameful history we are all becoming more and more aware of.”

“But I can’t help but think that burning down churches is actually depriving people who are in need of grieving and healing and mourning,” Trudeau added.

Listen and Understand

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In this 1st June file photo, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits a memorial at the Eternal Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa that’s in recognition of discovery of children’s remains at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Leaders of Indigenous groups in Canada say investigators have found more than 600 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school for Indigenous children in Saskatchewan. That follows last month’s discovery of about 215 bodies at another such school in British Columbia. (Photo from Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP/
Sight Magazine)

In French, Trudeau added that burning down churches is “not something we should be doing as Canadians. Rather, we should listen to each other, we should understand each other and the strong feelings that people have, and we should do that hard work to rebuild our society.”

To address the alarming number of fires, Trudeau said that the federal government has put into place a security infrastructure system with churches to be able to put in cameras and security systems to keep institutions safe from the rise of “intolerance and racism and hatred that we’re seeing across the country.” (Read: Pope Expresses Sorrow After Remains of 215 Children Were Found in Canada)

Acts of rage?

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(Left) The remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found at the site. Many area feared to have succumbed to diseases including TB, although abuse was rife at the school (Right) An undated photo of indigenous children with their parents at the Kamloops residential school (Photos from AP/Daily Mail and National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation/Daily Mail)

The blazes began after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked burial sites on the properties of former residential schools in western Canada. The residential school system was a federal program to assimilate Native Peoples into Canadian society. It was phased out in the late 20th century.

According to various reports, the system took children away from their families and placed them in boarding schools, which were run by religious organizations. These children were forced to abandon their native language and culture and were subjected to abuse.

Many children died of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, but many families never recovered the bodies of their children or were even informed of what happened to them. (Read: 3 Native American Dishes to Honor St. Kateri Tekakwitha)

Trudeau and tribal leaders have called for a formal apology from Pope Francis, who has pledged to meet with representatives of Native Peoples at the Vatican in December.

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