Earlier this week, I wrote a post on an essay written by Ian Hunter. Hunter was critical of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission here in Canada, and of general apologies given by those who aren’t the original perpetrators of the abuse.
Our local bishop, Archbishop James Weisgerber, was a strong supporter of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As former President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, he arranged for a personal meeting at the Vatican between Benedict XVI and aboriginal representatives on April 29, 2009. He has since made many friendships with members of the aboriginal community.
Tomorrow, at a ceremony at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, Archbishop Weisgerber will be formally adopted into the aboriginal community.
For Derek Nepinak, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs grand chief, the adoption sends a signal of good faith to the public, and it offers a pledge that non-native and Anishinaabe cultures work together in the name of a shared future. “We can’t just sit down and engage in a discussion, say ‘I’m sorry’ and walk away. We have to engage with each other and recognize and apply our ceremonies in a mutually respectful way,” Nepinak said.
What a wonderful sign of the power of true reconciliation. Yes, we must go further than just saying I’m sorry. But acknowledging a wrong and asking forgiveness is the first step towards building real bonds in our too often divided world. Congratulations to our aboriginal leaders and Archbishop for showing us reconciliation in action.