Late last month, the Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation community announced the discovery of 215 graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.
"The news of so many children’s bodies, interred beneath the windswept grounds of an old Catholic facility, run for nearly 80 years by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, astounded white audiences and affirmed a horror that First Nations people have lived with for generations," writes Kathleen Holscher, associate professor of religious studies and American studies at the University of New Mexico, in a commentary for NCR.
Holscher points out that between the 1880s and the 1990s, approximately 150,000 First Nations children were put into residential schools in Canada, mostly Catholic institutions. Thousands of those children, including the ones found at Kamloops, never returned home.
"But the Kamloops graves are part of a history of Catholic missions to Native peoples that spans Canada and the United States," Holscher says. "The horrors of the Kamloops School are also horrors of other North American Catholic institutions."
Pope Francis expressed pain over the discovery in Canada of the remains of 215 Indigenous students of church-run residential schools, but didn't offer the apology sought by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Justice Samuel Alito called it a "wisp" of a decision — a Supreme Court ruling June 17 that favored Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia but was far from the constitutional gale wind that would have reshaped how courts interpret religious liberty under the First Amendment.
Still, there was a shift.
Governmental entities are now on notice that if they want to ban discrimination against LGBTQ persons or anyone else, they must not allow for any exceptions, or else religious groups will have the right to ask for them and they'll have a strong case for getting them.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court said that a Catholic social service agency should not have been excluded from Philadelphia's foster care program because it did not accept same-sex couples as foster parents.
In April, NCR published interviews with LGBTQ Catholics who were closely watching the case.
A new gender-neutral version of a life satisfaction survey, originally designed for women religious, needs responses from men religious in order to assess whether the updated survey is effective for men.
At Global Sisters Report, read a Q&A with Sr. Mercedes Castillo who ministers to immigrants along the U.S. southern border.