The Pope’s Very Expensive Hollow Apology

Michael Nabert
6 min readJul 26, 2022

Taxpayers foot the bill for the emptiest of gestures.

Photo by Nacho Arteaga on Unsplash

Pope Francis has arrived in Canada to finally apologize for the church’s role in the residential school program. For those who don’t know, Canada’s residential schools took indigenous children from their families by force to place them in ‘educational’ gulags where they were punished for speaking their own language or using their indigenous names and indoctrinated to assimilate into their colonizers’ culture. Taking children away from their parents to raise them in accordance with a different culture is one of the internationally agreed upon legal definitions of genocide. Ground penetrating radar has thus far been used at about one quarter of former residential school facilities to locate upwards of 1800 unmarked graves to date, and thousands more children whose families never saw them again may be at others yet to find. If indeed they are ever found at all. Records are spotty, in part by deliberate design. This institutional crime against humanity carried on until the last residential school finally closed in 2008.

Taxpayers funded them. Churches administered them. The Roman Catholic church was by far the dominant faction involved, operating 70% of these hellish blights on the face of human decency.

And the Catholic church has never once yet displayed any shred of genuine contrition. In 2005, Canadian Catholic churches promised survivors $25 million in partial recompense. Seventeen years later, that still hasn’t happened. Crying poverty, the church claims that the utmost it could scrape together for the victims of, let’s say it again: the literal definition of genocide, was $3.9 million, less than one sixth of the pittance they had promised.

During the same time that they were insisting they couldn't possibly recompense genocide survivors, the Catholic church of Canada found $300 million to spend on upgrading and building cathedrals. St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto alone got $128 million in renovations, complete with a brass band at the gala reopening, while zero effort was made to honour their commitments to residential school victims.

So to be perfectly clear, further aggrandizing themselves is one of the Catholic church’s priorities, and victims of…



Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.