An official apology by the Pope is a huge step towards reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Act, it called for the Catholic Church to make an official apology to Canada’s Indigenous people for the pain and suffering of Residential schools. In recent years Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also asked Pope Francis to honour the findings of the committee with an apology but he remained non-committal.
Today, the Vatican confirmed the Pope has accepted an invitation from the Canadian Bishops to attend Canada to meet with survivors of Residential Schools. Although the Vatican did not confirm if the Pope will offer an official apology, one would assume it is imminent.
The Pope is set to travel to Canada in 2022 at a date to be determined. Leading up to his visit, the Pope will receive a group of Indigenous Elders, survivors and community leaders later in the year to set the stage for his inevitable visit.
“In the grand scheme of what we call reconciliation for Indigenous peoples, that full recognition is something that is long-awaited for from the Holy Father himself,” Said Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Affairs
As Canada continues to come to terms with its ugly past of the genocide of Residential Schools, there is hope that an official apology from Pope Francis will go a long way towards healing and reconciliation.