Father Rheal Forest also blames the media for spreading ‘fake news’ about the physical abuse of indigenous children.
A Catholic priest in Canada has been banned by the archdiocese from speaking in public after accusing a native residential school survivors of physical and sexual abuse, to lie to get money in federal court settlements.
Father Rheal Forest commented on July 10 during a sermon at St Emile Roman Catholic Church in Winnipeg, where he allegedly filled in for the church’s regular pastor.
“If they wanted extra money, out of the money they were given, they sometimes had to lie – lie that they were sexually abused and, openly, another $ 50,000,” Forest said, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corp.CBC).
“It’s hard when you’re poor not to lie,” he said.
The CBC reported that the Archdiocese of St Boniface, after causing widespread outcry over Forest’s comments, removed the videos from St Emile’s Facebook page and revoked his rights to preach in public.
“His words have hurt people deeply, very much,” St Boniface Archbishop Albert LeGatt said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.
“I completely reject his words and the attitudes and thoughts and approaches and culture behind these words,” he says.
Since 1831 and as recently as 1996, Canada’s residential school system has forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, exposing them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse in what the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called in 2015 ‘cultural genocide’.
Survivors who spoke to Canadian and international media recall constant hunger and ghostly loneliness, while schools are threatened and regularly use violence.
Kyle Mason, a native activist in Winnipeg and the son of a survivor in a residential school, told CBC in an interview published Friday that he was “saddened and disgusted” by the priest’s remarks.
“I was really sad to hear that someone in his kind of position can still have these views after all that has been said and done,” he said. said.
“Survivors have had to endure unspeakable horrors, tragedies and the attempted genocide of cultures and languages,” he said. “It’s absolutely disgusting that you would just call it a lie to get more money.”
In a video published by CBC, Forest blamed the media for spreading ‘fake news’ about residential schools.
“This is the evil, the evil of the media. Media makes people believe so many things. False news, ”Forest said.
The discovery of the tombs upset Canada, cause searches elsewhere and force Canadians to confront the genocide treatment of indigenous peoples in their country.