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Inuit leader met in Rome with head of Catholic order to discuss charge against priest

The leader of the national organization representing Inuit people says he had a meeting with the head of a Catholic order in Rome to discuss the case of a priest accused of crimes against children in Nunavut.

“I would hope that the Catholic Church’s faith dictates that they would work with us in a case where there are severe allegations of sexual abuse, especially sexual abuse of minors,” said Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

The meeting came after Obed asked Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican on Monday to personally intervene in Rivoire’s case.

“I imagine this is an extraordinary request of the Pope, but that was the entire point of the request,” said Obed.

“The Pope is someone who has extraordinary powers above and beyond the power that we have tried to work with overtime on this case.”
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A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued in February for Rivoire, who is in his 90s and lives in Lyon, France. Nunavut RCMP said officers received a complaint last year regarding sexual assaults that allegedly occurred about 47 years ago.

On Friday, Obed was among Indigenous delegates who attended a final meeting with the Pope at the Vatican. In a historic apology, Francis said he was “very sorry” for the church’s role in residential schools in Canada. He also asked for God’s forgiveness for the deplorable conduct of church members.

“I think it compels the Catholic Church to act.”

Justice has not been possible for the victims

Inuit leaders and politicians, from senators to Nunavut premiers, have continued to urge that the priest face trial.

“It feels more like justice.”

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