Pope Francis told reporters on his return flight from a lengthy 6-day trip to Canada that his ongoing health troubles, including osteoarthritis of the knee, could force him to slow down, at least in terms of international travel.
The planned destruction of the families, languages, cultures and traditions of the Indigenous communities of Canada through the residential school system was “genocide,” Pope Francis said.
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.
Pope Francis asked forgiveness Thursday for the sexual abuse of children at Church-run residential schools, vowing “never again” and building on an historic apology made the day after his arrival in Canada.
In the face of sin and failure, the temptation to wallow in despair and do nothing comes from the devil, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis arrived in Quebec Wednesday, where he reiterated his apology to the country’s Indigenous peoples for the Catholic Church’s historic role in the “violent opposition” of their culture and condemned both new and old forms of colonization.
Pope Francis joined Indigenous pilgrims at a lake known for miraculous healings and encouraged them to lay their burdens on the shore.
The words “I am sorry” are powerful. For Tammy Ward of the Samson First Nation, those words from Pope Francis brought tears as she listened on the Muskwa, or Bear Park, Powwow Grounds.
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.
The first step of Pope Francis’ “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada involved him returning two pairs of children’s moccasins.