Losing faith: Former Catholic questions church in wake of discoveries at residential school sites


Former churchgoer Joseph Matheson has been questioning his religion for a while now.

Last week he sent an email to his church renouncing his Catholicism in light of the discoveries of residential school graves.

"Come see me, or come see them. I’m sorry to hear this, I’ll pray for you type thing. That’s kind of what I was expecting," says Matheson.

But that’s not the response he received.

Instead, Matheson says an email from Holy Cross Parish in Glace Bay, N.S. focused more on the residential school situation, wishing the atrocities had never happened.

It then goes on to shift blame to the federal government, other churches and the media.

“Every organization that was involved in this need to admit their guilt and apologize," says Matheson.

CTV asked the Diocese of Antigonish Tuesday if they thought the response was appropriate, but they didn't address it.

Instead, Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick wrote in an email: "As a diocese, we continue to grieve, with our focus now on healing and reparation for the harm that was done to our Indigenous children, and the generations that followed. That means listening and identifying ways we as a diocese can best support this for our Indigenous communities and all of our faithful."

But an Ontario priest is more blunt about what needs to be done.

"Because it was part of the problem and continues to be, I and others want to be, and need to be part of the solution," says Michael Bechard, Diocese of London, Ont.

For others, like Bernadette Hardaker, who wrote an editorial in the Globe and Mail, she’s not sure if the Catholic Church is interested in redeeming itself at all.

“This to me was the final straw. So an apology is just that, an apology. It’s just words. It is actions that back up those words that will make the difference," Hardaker says.

Joseph Matheson is looking for accountability but says no matter the outcome, his time as a Catholic is over.