Vicky Sepass: My role in her death, and my own

by Kevin D. Annett


Punishment is now unfashionable. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.                                                            Thomas Szasz

The federal government conducted experiments on First Nations children in residential schools … One of the schools was located in Port Alberni.                                                                                                                           Southam News Service, April 26, 2000


She was slightly older than me, but we would have been in the same grade in United Church Sunday school class, which we both attended as children. Every worship day, I wore a proper suit and tie and clutched my white offering envelope in which a single Canadian dollar would help fill the coffers of what the United Church still calls its “Mission and Service Fund”. But Vicky Sepass wore a shabby grey uniform and had nothing to put in the plate on Sundays, for she herself was the offering.

Church life for me began in Westworth United Church in a leafy Winnipeg suburb known as River Heights; but for Vicky, it began and ended within the dank walls of the Port Alberni Indian residential school. She died there sometime during March in the year 1965, when she and I were both nine years old.

I helped pay for her murder.

It may have taken a month for Vicky Sepass to starve to death in the special isolation ward where she was held without food and studied by military doctors as she wasted away. It was all part of an experiment to test human endurance to torture and trauma, arranged through an agreement between the United Church of Canada and the Defense Research Board in Ottawa. Test subjects were routinely raped, beaten and starved to death, and their responses and mental alacrity were carefully noted.

“They always raped me when they had me strapped down. Always. I got it every day like clockwork” remembers Kenny Quatell, who survived the same experiment at the United Church-run Nanaimo Indian Hospital.

The money to fund these “experiments” came through a joint sharing agreement between the feds and the United Church, the latter relying on its Mission and Service Fund, and my faithful giving to it every Sunday.
At the time, I was told that my offering would go towards accomplishing God’s work, just like United Church parishioners are still told.
Perhaps it is part of any possible recompense I can make to Vicky Sepass that one day my life and work was destroyed by the very same Mission and Service Fund that killed her, barely a mile from where she died. For as an untraceable slush fund, the M and S paid the lawyers and black ops experts who arranged the destruction of my family and my position as the minister of St. Andrew’s United Church, and who continue to conceal what the church did to both Vicky and me.

The little white offering envelopes are still clutched every Sunday morning by the next young crop of unwitting killers. It’s still business as usual for the Mission and Service Fund, since of course the United Church got away with all of its atrocities, and made itself feel good and smug in the process. Normally, funds used for criminal purposes would be seized by the courts. But this is Canada, and the killers are still in charge.

After decades of battling this beast, and not changing it, I’ve realized what many “social activists” sense but rarely acknowledge: that we cannot bring down something that we ourselves are a part of. Rarely do we put ourselves in the equation of systemic evil, for the enemy, and the “real” problem, is always something and someone other than ourselves.

But I remember my blood money in the white envelope, and the joyful hymns and congratulatory praise I helped to heap on a church that was dissecting Vicky Sepass like a lab rat at that very same moment. And it was only when I fully embraced my role in her death that something in me was freed to step away from it, and disestablish that church and all that it represents first in my own heart and mind, and then in the world.
Repenting from evil and our own complicit guilt isn’t about indulging in gestures or a lot of apologetic talk, according to the Bible that is still quoted in United Churches: it’s about actively walking away from and bringing to nothing whatever caused the evil. If I’ve been able to help accomplish that, it’s because I knew first that I was a denizen of its dark city, and I had to leave it without looking back, lest, like Lot’s wife gazing longingly at Sodom and Gomorrah, I be consumed in its final destruction. And that demise of the fallen churches is approaching.

As for Vicky Sepass and all those other children who will die tomorrow at the hands of unaccountable power, they remain more than anything a legion of searching, implacable eyes, and an enormous and enduring question mark, directed at each one of us: but especially at all the slumbering United Church members who today keep funding the filth and its lies with a sweet hymn on their lips.

A Modest Proposal for Dealing with Vatican Crimes: Eat the Pope

By Kevin D. Annett

In these latter days of planetary hysteria, everyone seems to be the enemy and the real villains keep getting away with their shit cloaked behind money or a papal procession. It’s enough to make you want to puke all over everything, you know?

These are indeed the times that try not only our souls, but our imagination. Someone says “a visiting tyrant”, and all we can think of doing is grabbing a protest sign and calling the creep names.

And so it was with some awe and elation that I was struck nearly blind by my own brilliance this morning, as the answer finally came to me.

We have to eat the Pope.

Cannibalism is a very Catholic thing to do, after all, as any good Communion-Eater knows. And it’s also the easiest and most direct way to deal with a problem: ingest it. We in the West are good at that. Hell, we chewed up some 50 million brown folks on this side of the Atlantic alone. Assimilating the enemy is old hat, and the prescribed method of all True Believers.

It’s also the moral thing to do, as well. We eat our enemies for their own good. Ask any missionary or corporate accountant.

Nor do I think that the logistics are a problem. Chubby pontiffs have been on the menu of various Roman factions for millennia, and they drop like flies depending on who’s screwing who. Pope Frank’s no exception. The guy’s got so many enemies in St. Peter’s that he doesn’t even live there.

No, it should be an easy enough thing to slice and dice that plucky little Jesuit jalapeno, and serve him up as a spicy ragout or some fileted Argentine casserole. Joe Ratzinger would be only too happy to supply the carving knives.

Consider, too, the immense moral capital that the dissection and gulping down of Jorge Bergoglio will confer on his late memory, and on his syndicate. His final, Christ like consummation: letting his body and blood be consumed by the faithful! What an unbeatable publicity gimmick for a stumbling Vatican Incorporated!

Nor will the Vatican Museum Gift Shop suffer from all those new Holy Relics provided by a freshly eviscerated Pope. Just think! Bits of Jorge’s bones, a bargain at a hundred Euros apiece, guaranteed to cure the ailment or sins of any Believer! A vial of the Pope’s blood, a sure fire remedy for baldness!

Cast your vision even further afield beyond such mundane theological concerns, and imagine the commercial possibilities of a globally televised “My Dinner with Jorge” event. Holy Smorgasbord! The thing would do better at the box office than Texas Chainsaw Massacre! And think of all the merchandising spinoffs: Blue ray DVD’s of the Pope’s Last Moments on Earth, comic books, T shirts declaring “I Ate the Pope”, and even miniature Jorge candy-dolls, with detachable and edible limbs oozing red jello. A perfect first communion gift!

Now, considering that Pope Frank is coming to the Land of the Fee and the Home of the Depraved this September, this whole Chow Down on the Papal Crown plan should work out wonderfully. After all, who’s more likely to cash in on a profitable business venture than your average Congressman? And come on: it’s not as if Obama and Co. haven’t eaten people before!

Really, the thing will work. Even the soggy mess afterwards will present no problem to the Vatican Cleanup Crew, which has been dumping human remains for a hell of a long time.

So there you have it, people: a morally, theologically and commercially winning plan. Eat the Pope, for your own good: and for his. And as someone so gosh-darned concerned about appearing to do the right thing, Mr. Bergoglio should be all in favor of his own devouring. After all, doesn’t your average priest want to be eaten?

But after all is said and done, if the Pontiff in question is at all averse to the idea of dying for the sake of so many; well, it just goes to show that you can’t trust an actor.

Kevin Annett's photo.