“One step ahead”: Justin Trudeau assesses the Pope’s request for pardons for Native Canadians. The Canadian Prime Minister welcomed Francis’ words.
The Pope welcomed representatives of the “First Nations”, the Inuit and the Métis, to the Vatican on Friday. He expressed “outrage and shame” about the forced re-education of Native Canadians in so-called “residential schools” in Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. “On behalf of the Catholic Church, I ask God for forgiveness,” Francis said. Many of the approximately 140 “residential schools” were run by the Catholic religious.
Trudeau said that the Pope “accepted the truth about our past in order to correct the mistakes of the past.” “But there’s still a lot to do.” He awaits Francis’s announced visit to Canada.
In 2015, a Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission classified the country’s long-standing policy of forced assimilation of indigenous peoples as “cultural genocide”. Since May last year, nearly 1,300 unmarked graves of children and youth have been found near several former residential schools. This caused panic far beyond Canada.
“The sad reality of the ‘residential school’ system will forever remain a dark spot in Canadian history,” the prime minister said. Several institutions, “including the Canadian government and the Catholic Church,” have “established and maintained” these schools.
Governor General Mary Simon called Friday’s papal audience a “historic and emotional day for indigenous peoples across Canada.” The Pope’s request for pardon is “a step on the road to reconciliation”. Simon is the first indigenous woman to represent the titular head of state Queen Elizabeth II in Canada.
(UKNews – SK)
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