Pope Francis renews ‘request for forgiveness’

Head of Catholic Church repeats feelings of ‘shame and sorrow’ over church members’ role in ‘deplorable’ residential schools as papal tour moves to Quebec

Pope Francis and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon shake hands following Simon’s speech during a ceremony in Quebec City on Wednesday, the fourth day of the Pope’s “pilgrimage of penance.” The pilgrimage is a six-day visit to Canada during which he is apologizing for the role some church members played in Canada’s residential school system. Francis is scheduled to end his visit in Iqaluit on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Vatican News/YouTube)

By Nunatsiaq News

Pope Francis again acknowledged the harm done to children forced to attend Canada’s residential schools during the second stop of his tour of the country Wednesday.

“I renew my request for forgiveness for the wrong done by so many Christians to the Indigenous Peoples,” Francis said in Spanish during a speech in Quebec City that evening.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church arrived in the provincial capital in the afternoon, following three days in Edmonton. He met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon at the Citadelle, the Governor General’s official Quebec residence.

On Monday, the first day of what Francis calls his six-day “pilgrimage of penance,” he said he was “deeply sorry” for the abuses some members of the church committed against Indigenous children at Canada’s residential schools.

Canada’s residential school system was a federal government policy between the 1880s and 1990s aimed at separating Indigenous children from their language and culture by removing them from their families and forcing them to attend far-away schools.

“For all of this, I ask for forgiveness,” Francis said Wednesday, calling residential schools “a deplorable system.”

He added he felt “deep shame and sorrow” that “different local Catholic institutions had a part in it.”

However, he noted that, while most of the 139 schools were run by Catholic or Anglican clergy, the system itself was “promoted by the governmental authorities at the time.”

Francis said he and the Roman Catholic Church would respond in a fitting way to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Both the Vatican and local Catholic organizations are committed to promoting Indigenous cultures, traditions, customs languages and educational practices in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“It is our desire to renew the relationship between the church and Indigenous Peoples,” the 85-year-old spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics around the world.

He didn’t elaborate how the church would specifically respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published 94 calls to action in its 2015 report, includes among them a papal apology for the church’s role in residential schools — to be delivered in Canada.

The Pope’s apologies, however, have so far fallen short of recognizing the church’s role, focusing only on some members of the church who were responsible for abuses.

Trudeau reminded the crowd he went to the Vatican five years ago to talk with Francis about reconciliation.

“As Your Holiness has said, begging pardon is not the end of the matter. It is a starting point,” Trudeau said, adding reconciliation is “not a single act but a lifetime journey of healing.”

After nearly two full days in Quebec, Francis is scheduled to fly to Iqaluit on Friday.

He is expected to meet privately with Inuit survivors of residential schools, then speak to the public at a community event in front of Nakasuk elementary school.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by DUMBFOUNDED!! on

    Nunatsiaq Newspaper. Please print a copy and give to the Pope.
    Pope Francis, don’t blame the christians for the sexual abuse, mental abuse, psychological abuse, molestations, rapes and murder, genocide and assimilation.
    Blame the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Place Blame where the Roman Catholic Church was at fault. STOP playing WORD GAMES. The only reason the RCC and the Fed Government are apologizing is because both organizations got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. If the Young First Nations, Metis and or Inuit children were not found, this would not have become public. Both Apologize are FAKE. The harm has been done and nothing will ever remove the multitude of emotions that we all still carry from day 1.

    • Posted by RU Serious? on

      Nothing has been ‘discovered’ that was not already known. Current leadership built on the momentum of much larger forces playing out in our culture (a moral panic over racism, largely) to create this moment with the Pope. Good for them, but that does not indicate that there is anything ‘fake’ about this either.

    • Posted by Not my speaker on

      You do NOT speak for me and so many other Inuit! Why are people like you always the loud ones, always the one’s listened to, always the one’s people are afraid of, always the one’s that make us look bad.

      I can see the SJW’s already coming out full swing for tomorrow’s event in Iqaluit. They’ve been awefully quiet these past few months so rest assured tomorrow will be their time to ‘shine’. Good grief.

    • Posted by TY2SI on

      Well said, Dumfounded

  2. Posted by hermann kliest on

    Immediate need; allow RC priests to marry, this would eliminate so much stress of priests who are in dire need of female or male companionships. If this was not strict Vatican law, so much of ugly RC past would have been avoided. What do you think?

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      Pedophiles are not cured by marriage or consenting adult relationships. They are born.

  3. Posted by Uvangaruluk on

    The pope visiting as requested by the victims themselves is a very respectful and gracoius. This symbolizes a healing journey for the ones that were harmed. As abused children like myself we just want peace in this short life journey on earth. Please be respectful to the victims as this is their time to enable peace in our remaining time on earth. The anger out there is coming from the younger generation not us who are trying our best to move forward from the past harm. The harm is not for me to keep, the harm done is at the hands of the abuser. This is a triggering time for many, please be respectful of our time to move forward from the anger.


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