Inuit chief met in Rome with head of Catholic order to debate cost towards priest

ROME — The chief of the nationwide group representing Inuit folks says he had a gathering with the pinnacle of a Catholic order in Rome to debate the case of a priest accused of crimes towards kids in Nunavut.

ROME — The chief of the nationwide group representing Inuit folks says he had a gathering with the pinnacle of a Catholic order in Rome to debate the case of a priest accused of crimes towards kids in Nunavut.

“I would hope that the Catholic Church’s faith dictates that they would work with us in a case where there are severe allegations of sexual abuse, especially sexual abuse of minors,” stated Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Obed stated he had a one-hour assembly Thursday with Louis Lougen, superior normal of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, to debate the church’s accountability in making certain Johannes Rivoire is placed on trial in Canada.

The assembly got here after Obed requested Pope Francis throughout a gathering on the Vatican on Monday to personally intervene in Rivoire’s case.

“I imagine this is an extraordinary request of the Pope, but that was the entire point of the request,” stated Obed.

“The Pope is someone who has extraordinary powers above and beyond the power that we have tried to work with overtime on this case.”

A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued in February for Rivoire, who’s in his 90s and lives in Lyon, France. Nunavut RCMP stated officers acquired a criticism final 12 months relating to sexual assaults that allegedly occurred about 47 years in the past.

Rivoire was in Canada from the early Sixties to 1993, when he returned to France.

A warrant was additionally issued for his arrest in 1998. He confronted a minimum of three costs of sexual abuse within the Nunavut communities of Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Naujaat. More than twenty years later, the fees had been stayed.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada stated on the time it was partly as a consequence of France’s reluctance to extradite.

Obed stated he was instructed that Lougen had personally contacted the priest and that Rivoire has refused to abide by a course to return to Canada.

Lougen pledged to work with Inuit to hunt justice within the case, though no particulars had been supplied, Obed added.

On Friday, Obed was amongst Indigenous delegates who attended a last assembly with the Pope on the Vatican. In a historic apology, Francis stated he was “very sorry” for the church’s position in residential faculties in Canada. He additionally requested for God’s forgiveness for the deplorable conduct of church members.

“I believe we are at a time where the eyes of Canada and the eyes of the world are on this particular encounter, a papal apology, and also understanding more about what has happened and the fact that justice has not been possible for the victims,” Obed stated.

“I think it compels the Catholic Church to act.”

Earlier within the week, Obed requested the Pope to talk with Rivoire straight and ask him to go to Canada to face the cost. Obed additionally requested the Pope to request that France step in if Rivoire isn’t receptive.

Canadian Oblate chief Rev. Ken Thorson has additionally written to Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti, providing the non secular order’s co-operation in any investigation.

Inuit leaders and politicians, from senators to Nunavut premiers, have continued to induce that the priest face trial. Those calls have grown with the invention of unmarked graves on the websites of former residential faculties run by the Catholic Church.

Piita Irniq, an Inuit elder who has been preventing for greater than a decade to have Rivoire returned to Canada, has stated there are a minimum of six Inuit nonetheless dwelling who allege Rivoire abused them.

“There’s been loads of press and loads of discuss, so I believe the folks I’ve talked to are very hopeful,” Irniq stated earlier this week.

“It feels more like justice.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed April 2, 2022.

— With information from Bob Weber in Edmonton

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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