Pope apologizes to Indigenous peoples of Canada | Christianity

Pope Francis has apologized for the role of the Catholic Church in the mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada, particularly in residential schools.

Speaking to Canadian Indigenous leaders Friday at the Vatican, the pope said he felt “sorrow and shame for the role that a number of Catholics, especially those with educational responsibilities, have played in all those things that hurt you, in the abuse you suffered and in the lack of respect for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.”

“All of these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am truly sorry”, said the pope. continued. “And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your forgiveness.”

Pope Francis also announced to representatives of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit delegations that he would be visiting Canada.

“I will be happy to enjoy meeting you again when I visit your native lands, where your families live. I will not be coming in the winter! So I will end by saying: ‘Until we meet again’ in Canada , where I can better express my closeness to you,” he said.

Indigenous leaders have long demanded a papal apology for the decades-long harm inflicted on Indigenous children. Last year, hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered on the grounds of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

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From CNN’s Hada Messia in Rome and Alex Hardie in London

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