Vatican City/Quebec. Pope Francis has confirmed that he has prayed for forgiveness on behalf of the entire Church to Native Canadians. “I speak neither on my own behalf nor on behalf of any ideology or party. I am a bishop and I speak on behalf of the Church,” the Pope told the Jesuits during an apostolic visit to Canada. The Jesuit magazine »La Civilta Cattolica« published the conversation in Rome on Thursday, August 4th.
In the presence of indigenous people and politicians, Pope Francis repeatedly apologized for the role of parts of the Church in Canada during his visit.
A system of “residential schools” was requested. These boarding schools were an essential part of the colonial identity policy.
Francis said in conversation with the Jesuits, “I speak on behalf of the Church, even if I do not explicitly say it, because it is clear that I do it.” “On the contrary, I would say: let me make it clear that while I do not speak on behalf of the Church, it is my personal opinion,” the Pope concluded.
In a conversation with Canadian Jesuits that took place in Quebec on Friday, July 29, the Pope once again paid tribute to the unity of the Bishops of Canada. Francis said that if the process of reconciliation with the indigenous people is going well, it is not because of his visit to Canada, but because of the united bishops. “In short, these are the miracles that can happen when the Church is united,” declared the Pope.
On another occasion, during his visit, Francis praised the commitment of Canadian Catholic bishops to the process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples. The main concern of the Pope’s apostolic visit was to apologize to indigenous peoples for the involvement of parts of the Catholic Church in the state-church boarding school system. Native Canadians have been demanding this apology for years. For some time he has also received support from the bishops of his country.
They saw familiarity between bishops and locals and were only the “icing on the cake”, Pope Francis insisted. However, it cannot be hidden that there are some in the Church who are against healing and reconciliation. He himself saw a small group of traditionalist believers “who protested and said the church was something else”. The Pope called for this process to continue: “I liked the motto of the journey: marcher outfit (walk together). Go, but together. You know the saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to be sure, go with someone.'”
Traditionally, Pope Francis also meets with local Jesuits on his travels; He himself belongs to the Jesuit order.
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