CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The retired Bishop of Calgary, Frederick Henry, has blasted the blatant “lie” that thousands of missing indigenous children who attended residential schools run by the Catholic Church were somehow “clandestinely” murdered by “Catholic priests and nuns,” and placed in unmarked graves.
As reported by the B.C. Catholic, Henry broke his public “silence” on the contentious issue last month from his hospital bed, slamming both the federal government and his brother bishops for going along with, or promoting, the unsubstantiated claim that thousands of indigenous children either went missing, or were killed and buried, at the hands of Catholics operating the now-defunct residential school program once mandated by the Canadian government.
He called for the truth to be known about the issue while also questioning why the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has chosen to take the “silent” path on the issue instead of countering what he said is a clear “lie” that thousands of kids were missing or killed.
“Why is the Catholic Church not asking the federal government for proof that even one residential child is actually missing?” questioned Henry in an email he sent to The Catholic Register.
Henry, during his time in the episcopate, was known for speaking his mind against cultural “wokeness.” He served as Calgary’s Bishop for nearly 19 years and has been a priest for 55 years. A few years ago he famously opposed the Catholic school system’s approving of the HPV vaccine on moral grounds. He also spoke out strongly against gender ideology.
According to the B.C. Catholic, Henry is not satisfied with the silence he has faced from the CCCB regarding an email inquiry he sent to his fellow bishops some six weeks ago.
His email, sent on June 26 with the title “Lockjaw,” asked the CCCB to, in a public manner, formerly reject the Canadian federal government’s “interim report of the federal justice minister’s special adviser on missing children and unmarked graves with Indian residential schools.”
In the report, special interlocutor Kimberly Murray made a recommendation that there should be criminal offenses leveled against anyone who express any form of “denialism” toward the official residential school narrative.
Former Liberal Justice Minister David Lametti even expressed a willingness at the time to bring about legislation along the lines of Murray’s recommendations, saying such a law could be drafted.
According to Henry, the non-response he has gotten from his fellow bishops is unsettling, and he has called on the CCCB to reject Murray’s report.
“I have not had any response from the powers that be,” he said in an email to the Catholic Register. “Why is the Catholic Church not asking the federal government for proof that even one residential school child is actually missing?”
Henry then gave a clear indication of his opinion, saying that what is “abundantly clear” to him is the trouble that could arise if the “Catholic Church” goes ahead and “allows the lie that there are thousands of missing residential school children to become embedded in stone.”
“Obviously, [it means] these thousands of missing children were murdered by Catholic priests and nuns and clandestinely buried in unmarked graves,” he noted.
Henry then added, “Is the Catholic Church prepared to go that far in the name of reconciliation?”
According to Henry, he fears that such an outcome, where the church gets unfairly blamed for something that to this day has not been proven, could happen in “rapid” form.
“Would it help Indigenous people across Canada to better lives if the Catholic Church did go so far as to take responsibility for the murder and clandestine burial of thousands of residential school children in the name of reconciliation?” asked Henry.
“No, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t improve the lives of Indigenous people one iota if that monstrous libel against the Oblates, the Sisters of St. Ann, the Grey Nuns et al were to become the accepted ‘truth’ in Canada,” he added.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Bishop Henry asking him for further comment on his thoughts regarding the residential school grave claims, and the silence he has gotten from the CCCB. Henry promptly replied to LifeSiteNews but noted that due to health issues he is dealing with, he is not able to provide additional comments at this time.
LifeSiteNews also reached out to the CCCB’s media department, asking them to comment on Henry’s take on the matter. As of press time, there has been no reply.
The Archbishop of Edmonton Richard Smith, along with the Archbishop of Regina Don Bolen, both said they are waiting for the final report from Murray before they make a public comment.
“We made a pledge long ago as bishops to make records available to look into the truth of things, and we are happy and very ready to help the Indigenous peoples tell their story,” said Smith, according to the Register.
“That is our focus right now. Let’s see this process finish. Once you have a finished process, you are in a better position to assess it overall and make whatever statements might be necessary.”
Henry questioned why some current Catholic clergy cannot see the full implications of not countering the government’s narrative.
“If so, it’s not because those pushing the genocide [of Indigenous people] narrative haven’t made it clear where things are headed,” he said.
“It’s not the federal government that’s going to be held responsible for Canada’s murder and clandestine burial of thousands of missing children. It’s the Catholic Church.”
In 2021 and 2022, the mainstream media ran with inflammatory and dubious claims that hundreds of children were buried and disregarded by Catholic priests and nuns who ran some of the government-mandated residential schools.
Since the spring of 2021, well over 100 churches, most of them Catholic, have either been burned or vandalized across Canada. The attacks on the churches came shortly after the unconfirmed discovery of “unmarked graves” at now-closed residential schools once run by the Church in parts of the country.
Last year, Canada’s House of Commons, under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, even declared the residential school program a “genocide” without evidence.
Claims of ‘mass graves’ so far unfounded
Just last week, LifeSiteNews reported about how an excavation conducted at the indigenous Pine Creek Residential School, located in Pine Creek, Manitoba, turned up no human remains. The school was run by the Catholic Church for decades as per a governmental rule from 1890 to 1969.
The four-week-long excavation was led by the First Nation’s tribe Minegoziibe Ashinabe, and came after a total of 14 abnormalities were found at the former school by ground-penetrating radar.
Complicating matters on the issue for Catholic was Pope Francis’s visit to Alberta last summer, which was undertaken for the purposes of reconciliation and apology for the Church’s role in the operation of the residential school program.
Last July, Francis made an Apostolic “pilgrimage” to Canada in which he exclusively visited First Nations peoples in Alberta and Quebec. While in Quebec, he joined what could be considered to be a pagan “smudging” ritual before he gave a lengthy speech where he conveyed “deep shame and sorrow” for the role played by Catholic Church members in government-funded residential school abuses.
Francis made the apology even though an investigation from January 2022, before his visit, found that despite the allegations of “physical genocide” on the part of the Church, no graves had been found.
The ‘silence’ of bishops is doing ‘irreparable harm to the Church that I love’
Bishop Henry, in his email correspondence with the Catholic Register, took a clear but respectful shot at the current Church hierarchy.
“For some reason ‘they have eyes to see but refuse to see, ears to hear but refuse to listen,’” wrote Henry.
“Their silence is doing irreparable harm to the Church that I love,” he added.
Henry, while Bishop of Calgary, had before spoken out against the narrative that the Church alone was somehow responsible for all the tragedies that occurred in many residential schools.
He stressed, however, that he does not deny there were wrongdoings perpetrated to indigenous peoples, but merely wants the unbiased truth to be known.
While it is true that some students were traumatized by their experience at the schools, this was not a universal experience and is not unique to residential schools, as some students do not adjust well to boarding schools in general.
Canada’s Residential School system was a structure of boarding schools funded by the Canadian government that ran from the late 19th century until the last school closed in 1996.
Some schools were run by Catholic religious orders that had settled in Canada. While there were indeed some Catholics who committed serious abuses against native children, the past wrongs led to anti-Catholic sentiment, which exploded last summer after the discovery of the “unmarked” graves in Kamloops, British Columbia.
When it comes to the reported discovery of unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School, recent emerging evidence undermines the mainstream media and government narrative that the Catholic Church was secretly burying children.