Pope Francis expresses his “pain” over Native residential school


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After the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the site of a former boarding school run by the Catholic Church, and created to assimilate indigenous peoples into mainstream society, Pope Francis expressed his “pain” on Sunday without saying we might as well apologize despite the many appeals going in this direction.

Pope Francis expressed his “pain” on Sunday June 6 regarding the discovery in Canada of remains of 215 indigenous children on the site of a former boarding school run by the Catholic Church, without going so far as to apologize despite multiple calls to this effect.

“I follow with sorrow the news arriving from Canada about the shocking discovery of the remains of 215 children” in British Columbia (West), said the Pope after the traditional Sunday prayer of the Angelus in Holy Square -Pierre.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lamented on Friday the refusal of the Pope and the Catholic Church to recognize their “responsibility” and their “share of guilt” in the management of residential schools in Canada.

He called on Canadian Catholics to speak with their priests and bishops to “get the message across that it is time for the Catholic Church to recognize its responsibility, its share of guilt and, above all, that (she) be there so that ‘we know the truth’.

No excuses

On Sunday, the Pope did not go that far and simply said: “I unite with the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my solidarity with the Canadian people traumatized by this shocking news.”

“The sad discovery further increases awareness of the pain and suffering of the past. May the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to work together with determination to shed light on this sad matter and humbly embark on a path of reconciliation and healing. “, he continued.

“These difficult times represent a strong reminder for all of us to move away from the colonizing model and also from today’s ideological colonizations, and to walk side by side in dialogue, reciprocal respect and recognition of rights and cultural values. of all the sons and daughters of Canada, “he said, before calling the pilgrims present at St. Peter’s Square to a silent prayer for the victims and their families.

Calls from indigenous groups for an apology from the Pope have escalated in recent days after the remains of schoolchildren were located last week at the former Kamloops boarding school, run by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969.

“Cultural genocide”

Some 150,000 Native American, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly conscripted into 139 such residential schools across the country, where they were cut off from their families, language and culture. In 2015, a national commission of inquiry qualified this system as “cultural genocide”.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had estimated Monday that the discovery of the remains was “overwhelming” and expressed its “deep sadness”, but without offering a formal apology.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Minister of Native Services, Marc Miller, had deemed “shameful” the absence of an apology from the Pope and the Catholic Church.

A few hours after the minister’s statements, the Archbishop of Vancouver Michael Miller had offered his “sincere apologies and deep condolences to the families”. “The Church was unquestionably wrong to implement a colonialist government policy which was devastating for children, families and communities,” he ruled.

With AFP

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