June 19, 2024

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Pope Francis visits Canada to apologize for abuse of indigenous people in Catholic boarding schools

Pope Francis visits Canada to apologize for abuse of indigenous people in Catholic boarding schools

The Vatican has described the trip as a “pilgrimage of penance,” and the pope will be welcomed to Edmonton on Sunday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Governor-General Marie Simon.

While in the country, he will meet with Aboriginal groups and tackle the scandal of abuse and erasure of Aboriginal culture in the country’s boarding schools.

Indigenous leaders have long demanded a papal apology for the damage done to Aboriginal children for decades. last year, Hundreds of unmarked graves They were discovered on the grounds of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that more than 4,000 Aboriginal children died from either neglect or abuse in boarding schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.

In April, the Pope told indigenous leaders at the Vatican that he felt “sad and shameful for the role that a number of Catholics, especially those with educational responsibilities, have played, in all these things that have befallen you, in the abuses you have suffered and in the disrespect for your identity, your culture and even your spirituality.” .

The Pope will also travel to Quebec and Iqaluit, the capital of the Canadian province of Nunavut, during the trip. He will be accompanied during his visit by two Canadian cardinals, Cardinal Mark Ole and Cardinal Michael Czerny.

Francis, 85, had a trip to Africa canceled earlier this month due to problems with his knee.

He said in an interview with Reuters that he still intends to visit Russia In the aftermath of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, he received criticism for prioritizing that destination over visiting Ukraine, and for blaming NATO in part for the Russian invasion.

“I would like to go, it is possible that I can go to Ukraine. The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help, but I would like to go to both capitals,” Francis said.

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In an interview with Italy’s La Stampa newspaper in June, Francis said the war “may have been in some way either a provocation or not prevented.”

Pope Francis said that prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine he met a “head of state” who was “very concerned about how NATO would move.”

CNN’s Hada Messia and Radina Jegova contributed to the report.