Bishops `Dismayed' at Negotiations Pace: `We Need More Than Just Talk'

Article excerpt

Niagara Falls, Ont.

Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada, at their semi-annual meeting, debated how best to express dismay, and in some cases, outrage, at the slow pace of talks with the government of Canada concerning the residential schools crisis.

(After the bishops' meeting, a high-level delegation met with Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray in Ottawa.)

Several bishops, among them Ralph Spence of Niagara, said the church needs to be more vigorous in its approach toward the government. "We have done all the polite things. What would happen if the bishops descended on Ottawa for a day? We need more than just talk," said Bishop Spence.

"We have to be more assertive," said Bishop Gordon Beardy, of Keewatin, who added that he knows "maybe 100 native people who have been sexually abused who are waiting to sue the government; they don't want to sue the church."

However, other bishops counselled caution. "We must not forget we are Christian leaders and not show some rebellious attitude that is no different from people who don't know Christ," said Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk of the diocese of the Arctic. Bishop Beardy, who is Oji-Cree, and Bishop Atagotaaluk, who is Inuit, are two of three native bishops in the Canadian church. …


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