Toronto, ON July 1, 2021 – On June 22, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) decried the burning down of two Catholic Churches in British Columbia on June 21, National Indigenous People’s Day.
In less than ten days, two more churches in BC have been attacked in addition to two in Alberta and one in Nova Scotia.
The Chopaka Catholic Church on the Lower Similkameen Indian Band reserve and St. Ann’s Catholic Church on the Upper Similkameen Indian Band reserve, both in the BC interior, were destroyed by suspected arson in the early morning of June 26.
In Alberta, on June 28, the Siksika Nation Catholic Church was deliberately set on fire, however, the flames were extinguished, and no structural damage was reported.
Yesterday, in Morinville, Alberta, north of Edmonton St. Jean Baptiste Parish, in which its first Mass was celebrated in 1908 was burned to the ground.
Also, yesterday St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, within the Sipekne’katik First Nation, north of Halifax was set ablaze, though the fire was contained albeit with significant damage to the building.
In addition to five Catholic churches being burned to the ground in less than ten days, with two more targeted, several acts of vandalism have been reported. In Edmonton, a statue of St. John Paul II outside of Holy Rosary Church was smeared with red paint with dozens of red handprints covering the base, plaque and on the ground leading up to the adjacent church.
In Saskatoon, the co-Cathedral St. Paul’s had handprints painted in red onto the main doors with the inscription, “we were children.”
These church cases follow the tragic reports of unmarked graves of indigenous communities in Kamloops, BC (215), another east of Regina, SK (751), and a further discovery reported yesterday near Cranbrook, BC (182).
We stand with the victims of the residential school program and seek healing and reconciliation.
Violence and property destruction does not answer these needs.
The CCRL has been working on a searchable database of acts of vandalism against Catholic churches in Canada, with a launch date forthcoming. We pray that more entries can be avoided.
Join the CCRL in continuing to pray for reconciliation and peace and for a Canada in which people of faith may continue to thrive in their communities, for themselves, and in contribution to our society and our nation.
We appeal to any of you not financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, who may wish to accomplish more almsgiving by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director