Catholic bishops in Canada have apologized for the suffering caused by the church’s involvement in the former boarding system for Indigenous children. Hundreds of graves and remains of children’s corpses have been found.
“We recognize the grave abuse perpetrated by certain members of our Catholic community: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural and sexual,” it said in a statement released Friday (local time). This is the most comprehensive statement the Catholic Church has ever made on the subject in months.
Suppression of language, culture and spirituality
In this the bishops emphasized that the boarding system included many Catholic religious communities and dioceses, which led to the suppression of the languages, culture and spirituality of the indigenous peoples.
“Together with Catholic institutions that were directly involved in the running of the schools and have already sincere apologies, we, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our deepest remorse and express our sincere apologies,” reads this annual general It is stated at the end of the meeting papers. Published by the Episcopal Conference of Canada.
The bishops also announced that they would launch fundraising campaigns across the country to support initiatives started by indigenous communities. In addition, they will work with those responsible at the Vatican and indigenous partners to investigate the possibility of a pastoral visit by the Pope to Canada.
Indigenous leaders last asked Pope Francis to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church on Canadian soil. Some indigenous people are planning a trip to Rome in December to meet the Pope there.
More than 1,000 old tombs discovered
Since late May, more than 1,000 graves with children’s remains have been discovered by ground penetrating radar on former boarding school properties in Canada. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it is estimated that more than 100,000 children of Indigenous mothers were placed – often forcibly – in Canadian homes.
Many of the more than 130 institutions across the country were run by Catholic religious orders. They should introduce the children to “Christian Civilization” on behalf of the state. Often they were not allowed to speak their mother tongue. An unknown number of children and adolescents were physically or sexually abused, and many died of infectious diseases.
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