The Hard Work of Important Work
The impossible challenge of openly and honestly facing the terrible history of residential schools in Canada — and why we must face it.
The thing that drives me completely fucking bonkers about people who are dismissive of the harmful long term consequences of programs like the Canadian residential school system is that there’s absolutely no fucking way they’d accept it for themselves, their loved ones, or their race. Right?
Let’s be honest. That’s the fear. The extremists fear re-education camps to strip them of their whiteness. It doesn’t have to be rational to be real, and unfortunately it’s obviously some kind of real based in some pretty heavy versions of some realities given the main subject of this article. Most people aren’t extremists though. Most people just don’t care or don’t know how to care (so it looks like they don’t care.)
We have a long history of doing terrible things to one another and we have a slightly less long history of lying to ourselves about how to work through these tragedies for reasons that are about the victimizers and not the victims.
The Pope has come to Canada
This is an impossible thing for Pope Francis to fix. This is the work of years, or decades, or generations. We don’t have a good blueprint for that yet. Pope Francis seems genuinely progressive in a bunch of important, commendable, and relevant ways.
The Church needs to fix this in a way they’ve never fixed anything they’ve broken before. The residential schools tragedy is no doubt representative of the opposite of what Francis believes his Church stands for. Part of fixing this means truly understanding how and why this happened, and was allowed to happened, and where they could have gone differently.
The Church can’t fix this until it acknowledges the very real, very huge problem of people in positions of authority doing absolutely terrible things to innocent people all over the world through all of its history. It’s not just the Catholic Church but they’ve been leading the charge in a way that’s undeniable so they need to fix this.
The Hard Problem of Hard Things We Don’t Want to Do
I’m not a practicing Catholic and don’t know everything Jesus said off the top of my head but I’m sure He covered how to handle this in some relevant way. Right? So where’s the problem? Just listen to Him. Follow His teachings. Nothing about what he said involved any of this bullshit so fucking stop it.
Part of the issue here is that the problem is in all the systems and infrastructure that was built up after Jesus died, in His name, and the flawed nature of the many unique and beautiful and imperfect people who have sustained those systems and that infrastructure. Religion is a marvelous way to align the unique faiths of countless individuals and also a system of control intended to maintain the collective power of the group and its elites.
The people who follow religions don’t like to think about that last part and the people who run religions don’t like to talk about it and many of the problems which arise from religions seem to arise from this position of internal conflict and pressure. Part of this is part of the Jungian shadow of the collective unconscious of religion. It’s the part of religion that’s like a child who has made a mistake and is unwilling to face it.
The Pope is doing more than most Catholics
When we talk about the death or decay of religion we talk about the diminishment of belief and the reduction in associated social infrastructure. There’s a bunch of beautiful fiction that explores this concept and maybe that blinds us to the reality of the situation: where is the belief of Catholics in Canada?
Religion is a bunch of complicated things. One of them is a collective, collaborative experience between a group of individuals and a memeplex. Some of the tropes around religion go both ways and we don’t realize it.
Allow me to explain:
I’m currently taking a course on Religion and UFOs being offered by Dr. Diana Walsh Pasulka. When people get tuned into the thought of the UFO Phenomenon they often look back through history and see religion events through the frame of UFO experiences and recognize that many of these events were related to the UFO Phenomenon. This also means that modern UFO events are religious events. I touch on this a bit more in this video.
“The Catholic Church” isn’t doing enough to address this but the Catholic Church is not a material entity, it’s a collaborative one. People who believe in the Christian God in Canada are the people who actually make up the Catholic Church here and I see a much bigger percentage of Popes than Catholics at these events. If the Catholic Church has to fix this it can only be fixed by the hard work of many Catholics. A Pope can’t fix this but the faith of the people who follow him is absolutely required to fix this.
Canadians have to fix this more than Catholics
Past generations of Canadians hired the Catholic Church do this to thousands and thousands of children in communities they didn’t want to focus on (a state of affairs which could only result in their neglect). We say they didn’t know in order to hide from the fact that we didn’t really care. It’s a common reaction and the type of thing we often do in the absence of some sort of a meaningful moral code.
Masses of people ignoring the abuse and murder of children for decades can be accurately described as lacking some aspects of a moral code.
The Church apologized before Canada did for the residential schools. The Church was only a contractor. We hired them to do this to those children. We built our country up around this infrastructure and then we always willfully ignored it if we accidentally noticed the tragedy happening in parallel to our flourishing.
I see lots of Canadians casting shade at Christians for a different flavour of the same bullshit we’re doing. This accomplishes fuck all for anyone.
Obviously the problem is that we have no fucking clue how to handle this
It’s so big and it’s been so big for so long that awareness of it paralyzes us. Meanwhile the trauma experienced by innumerable individuals living in harsh and neglected conditions which are often all or partly the fault of our shared system of government remains unacknowledged and unresolved. Yes, the recovery of Native communities in Canada must be a collaborative process, but the side of the collaborative process which is responsible for the need that there be a collaborative process of recovery is failing to acknowledge its actual responsibilities. It’s also the side with the fucking resources because it showed up and said all the resources belonged to it.
I don’t know how to handle this either. I’s all fucked. I’m glad Pope Francis is trying.
I’m trying to go to Ukraine with Ethan Hawke in order to stop the war and then usher in a new era of collective re-alignment, so maybe we can try to figure this out as part of that?