Pope in Canada to Sorrowful for Abuse of Indigenous Children in Church Schools!

Pope Francis arrived in Canada on Sunday to start a five-day trip during which he will apologize on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for the abuse that Indigenous children went through at residential schools, which were mostly run by the church.

“This is a trip of penance. Let’s say that is its spirit,” the pope told reporters after his flight took off from Rome.

He landed in Edmonton, which is in the western province of Alberta. On Monday, he will go to an old residential school and meet with Indigenous people. He is also going to Quebec City and Iqaluit, which is the capital of Nunavut Territory. On Friday, he will leave.

The pope said he yearned to visit Ukraine in his efforts to try to bring an end to the five-month-old war that he has repeatedly decried. “I have a great desire to go to Kyiv,” the pope said when asked about a possible future trip to Ukraine.

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Earlier this month, the pontiff told Reuters that after his trip to Canada, he hoped to be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv soon.

The first full day of his Canadian tour will be dedicated to Indigenous people and the apology, with a mass to be held in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on Tuesday.

More than 150,000 Indigenous children were taken away from their families and put in residential schools between 1881 and 1996. In a system that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “cultural genocide,” many children were starved, beaten, and sexually abused.

Abuse of Indigenous Children

Even though Canada’s leaders have known since 1907 that a lot of children died at the schools, the issue became more important last year when unmarked graves were found on or near the sites of former residential schools.

As a result of the pressure that came from these discoveries, the pope apologized for the Catholic church’s role in the schools when Indigenous delegates went to the Vatican earlier this year.

Now he is coming to apologize on Canadian soil. But survivors and Indigenous leaders have told Reuters they want more.

Many people have asked for money, the return of Indigenous artifacts, the release of school records, help with extraditing an accused abuser, and the rescinding of a papal bull, or edict, from the 15th century, that justified the colonial dispossession of Indigenous people.

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