Pope Francis’s whirlwind tour through Canada came to an end Saturday, and during the press conference aboard the papal plane he acknowledged that a genocide had been perpetrated against the Indigenous communities there.
Meeting Indigenous survivors of residential schools in Canada, Pope Francis entrusted them and the journey of truth, healing and reconciliation to three women: St. Anne, Mary and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
Survivors of Canada’s residential school system who were present for Pope Francis’ apology Monday described the moment as historic and “bittersweet,” but said the highly anticipated mea culpa will only be meaningful if it’s followed by concrete action.
Pope Francis’ July trip to Canada was born out of his meetings with the nations’ Indigenous people and was planned around encounters with them, and if the pontiff’s words “have value elsewhere,” like throughout the Americas, all the better, said the director of the Vatican press office.
Beginning March 28, residential school survivors, Indigenous elders and youth will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican as a prelude to a papal trip to Canada. The Indigenous want an apology, on Canadian soil, for historic abuses they suffered at government-owned residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.
Reconciliation between Canadian society and the country’s Indigenous communities is possible, say two new national Indigenous leaders.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver said he was “filled with deep sadness” after learning of the discovery of the bodies of more than 200 children buried on the site of what was once Canada’s large Indigenous residential school.
When it comes to the private notes of a pontiff, the world usually has to wait until they’ve died to have access to them, but Pope Francis this week made some of his personal notes public.
Pope Francis’s highly anticipated document on the Amazon bypasses two hot-button issues looming over its publication – the possibility of married priests and women deacons – while calling for “outrage” over the treatment of the region’s land and its peoples.