Pope Francis is in Canada apologizing for Christians who cooperated with Canadian government officials in assimilating Indigenous persons into society. The most serious charge against them, as outlined on p. 1 of the Introduction to the Report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is that of "cultural genocide."
"Cultural genocide" is defined as the destruction of the "structures and practices" of a particular population; it seeks to eradicate their "political and social institutions."
Bur rather than address the issue at hand -- the Catholic Church's role in Canadian schools for indigenous children that sought to wipe out their heritage -- hew reanted that "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is carrying out "cultural genocide" against his own people" by not hating LGBT people and abortion the way he does, screeching that Trudeau "was born to privilege, evolved into a white supremacist, and is guilty of committing cultural genocide against his own country."
Donohue finally address the school issue in his Aug. 2 column, where the first thing he did was downplay Catholic involvement in them:
There has been much recent discussion about the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It found that 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their homes and forced to attend schools that would assimilate them into the dominant culture.
It was the Canadian government that made the decision to suppress the culture of Indigenous persons, sending children to residential schools operated by the government, Catholic religious orders, and Protestant denominations.
The majority of the schools were not run by Catholics.
Donohue then ranted that Pope Francis referred to what happened at the schools as "genocide" and huffing that reporter "succeeded in entrapping the pope" to say that. He then denied there was any "genocide," cultural or otherwise:
The truth is Canada never witnessed "cultural genocide," never mind "genocide." Don't take my word for it—read p. 6 of the Report.
"Despite the coercive measures that the government adopted, it failed to achieve its policy goals. Although Aboriginal peoples and cultures have been badly damaged, they continue to exist." That is a true statement and it undercuts what was said on p. 1 about residential schools being an example of "cultural genocide." True genocides allow for few, if any, survivors.
Donohue then justified what the schools did to indigenous children by citing ... Charles Murray, the racist-adjacent author who is best -- and most noroiously -- known for book called "The Bell Curve," which pushed junk science about IQ and race:
The Report accurately notes that "The residential school system was based on an assumption that European civilization and Christian religions were superior to Aboriginal culture, which was seen as being savage and brutal." Without justifying anything the schools did, there were very good reasons for thinking this way.
Charles Murray tallied approximately four thousand first-time accomplishments in history. He found that nearly 100 percent of the scientific and technological breakthroughs in history originated in Europe or North America. He came to the conclusion, which he did not anticipate, that the key to understanding this phenomenon is Christianity.
What Murray said is incontestable, making absurd the statement in the Report that "there is no hierarchy of societies." This is morally and historically indefensible. Are we to believe there is no difference between a society run by Norwegians and one run by Nazis?
Donohue then tried to insist that no children of note died at the schools:
The Report cites not a single person who was killed in the residential schools. So where was the genocide? There are two testimonials about killing in the 535-page Report. One was made by an Indigenous woman who said she witnessed her older brother kill one of her other brothers when she was nine.
The other cites a 2014 document that claims that "1,017 Aboriginal women and girls were killed and 164 were missing." If this is genocide, then it has nothing to do with the residential schools. These killings took place between 1980 and 2012. The residential schools were closed in 1969.
If the residential schools were guilty of genocide, surely the Report would find instances of torture, if not whipping. But no incidents of torture were cited. One instance of whipping was mentioned and it was committed by a government teacher in 1895.
Donohue didn't mention that there are reports of hundreds of children buried in unmarked graves at the school sites ; at least 4,100 children have been confirmed to have died at the schools, and the number may actually be as high as 6,000.
Donohue completed his whitewashing attempt this way:
If we don't distinguish between cultural imperialism and cultural genocide—never mind "genocide"—we are belittling what happened to Jews in Hitler's Germany. We need to stop with the drama and the hyperbole—there was no genocide, cultural or otherwise, in the Canadian residential schools.
So Donohue is embracing racism and imperialism to minimize Catholic involvement in the operation of this schools. Sigh.