An official apology by the Pope is a huge step towards reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people
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.
In October 2021, 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 was set to travel to Canada in 2022 at a date to be determined. Leading up to his visit, the Pope received a group of Indigenous Elders, survivors and community leaders at the beginning of the week which was to set the stage for his inevitable visit.
After days of meeting and listening to the stories of residential school survivors, Pope Francis offered a sincere apology to Canada’s Indigenous community.
“For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.
“It is chilling to think of determined efforts to instill a sense of inferiority, to rob people of their cultural identity, to sever their roots, and to consider all the personal and social effects that this continues to entail: unresolved traumas that have become intergenerational traumas.
“Without real indignation, without historical memory and without a commitment to learning from past mistakes, problems remain unresolved and keep coming back. We can see this these days in the case of war. The memory of the past must never be sacrificed at the altar of alleged progress.”
“Pope Francis’ apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in operating residential schools in Canada would not have happened without the advocacy of Survivors. To those who shared their truths, and relived their painful memories with bravery and determination,
“This apology is an important step forward, as we must acknowledge the truth of our past in order to move towards righting historical wrongs. We now look forward to the Pope coming to Canada to deliver the apology in person. Said, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The apology is another important historical moment in time that will go towards the healing of Canada’s Indigenous community.
Image source The Vatican