The archbishop of Quebec City made the statement Thursday at the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City after a small group of people protested outside the gathering, demanding the church acknowledge past abuses toward aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples.
The week-long congress is not the proper venue for such discussions, Ouellet said at a news conference. “We are in spiritual reflection and renewal. I think that from what we are living, there will be concrete actions afterwards with other people, with other initiatives,” he said.
The group of protestors demanded Ouellet apologize to all aboriginal people abused at residential schools, and other people who suffered abuse from priests.
France Bédard, who was among the protesters, said she feels a moral obligation to speak up for others.
She said she was assaulted by a priest as a young woman and became pregnant, but never saw justice because he died before his trial.
“I have to do something for these poor people who don’t have the capacity” to fight back, because they are lost in a world of alcoholism, drug abuse or self-destructive behaviour, she said in French. The protesters would like to see the church set up a commission to recognize people who have been abused.
Ouellet said the church will be present at the federal Aboriginal Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but any other discussions are inappropriate.