Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he is pleased that Pope Francis intends to travel to Canada to offer a long-awaited apology to its in-digenous people for the atrocities inflicted on their children by the Catholic Church in residential schools.
“I welcome the news of His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Canada this summer to formally deliver the Roman Catholic Church’s apology for its role in operating residential schools that caused lasting pain and suffering to Indigenous Peoples in this country,” Trudeau said. “His Holiness’ upcoming visit would not be possible without the bravery and determination of the Survivors, Indigenous leaders, and youth who shared their stories.”
Last month, Pope Francis met with representa-tives from the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis at the Vatican in Rome where he apologized.
Trudeau said a formal in-person apology in Canada from the Roman Catholic Church to survi-vors and their families would be very important.
“This would be an important – and necessary – step for the Roman Catholic Church to continue engaging in dialogue with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in order to advance meaningful reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples in our country,” Trudeau continued. “For far too long, this has been a burden carried by Indigenous Peoples alone. I encourage all Cana-dians to watch this historic moment and reflect on the impacts of colonialism.”
Canada’s Indigenous leaders, people and survi-vors, had, for decades, been demanding an apology from the Catholic Church for the range of widespread abuses, physical, sexual, emotional and psychologi-cal. Between the late 1880s through to the 1990s, the Canadian government operated government-funded, primarily Church-run, compulsory boarding schools that a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission described as a system of cultural genocide. An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to these residential facilities.—APP