‘It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie’: Church apologizes after comments on Indigenous people

WINNIPEG (CityNews) – A Manitoba Archbishop is speaking out after remarks made by Father Rhéal Forest on Residential Schools in early July.

In a video obtained by the CBC of a sermon on July 10, Forest said, “If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes. Lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000… It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie.”

The video, which was posted on the church’s Facebook page has been deleted.

A statement provided by the Saint Boniface Archdiocese reads, “Recognizing the undeniable multi-faceted tragic legacy of the Indian Residential School system, Archbishop LeGatt and the Archdiocese completely disavow Fr. Rhéal Forest’s comments. We very much take to heart the pain his words have caused to numerous people, not least, of course, Indigenous people and, more specifically, survivors of the Residential School system.”

“First of all, to say that, in regards to the remarks of Father Rhéal; I completely disavow and disavow the way of thinking, the attitude. And all that is behind those words,” said Archbishop Albert LeGatt in a Facebook video.

WATCH: Archbishop Albert LaGett responds to the statements made by Fr. Rhéal Forest

“I am not just sorry or regret or wish he hadn’t used those words. I wish to say very clearly. And I hope more and more people will come to that place of completely disavowing, that kind of thinking, and going to see that kind of racism,” he added.

Father Rhéal Forest has had his permission to preach or teach publicly revoked.

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