Pope to meet with Canadian Indigenous leaders amid demands for apology | www.WDIO.com

Pope to meet with Canadian Indigenous leaders amid demands for apology

Pope to meet with Canadian Indigenous leaders amid demands for apology Photo: Vatican News

from Associated Press reports
Created: June 30, 2021 11:28 AM

Pope Francis has agreed to meet in December with Indigenous survivors of Canada's notorious residential schools.

The meeting comes amid calls for a papal apology for Catholic Church's role in the abuse and deaths of thousands of native children. The calls have come from Indigenous leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and others.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said Francis had invited the delegations to the Vatican and would meet separately with three groups, First Nations, Metis and Inuit, during their Dec. 17-20 visit. The pope will then preside over a final audience with all three groups Dec. 20.

The Vatican didn't confirm the visit Wednesday, but the Holy See's in-house news portal reported on the bishops' statement.

The calls for an apology first came after 215 unmarked graves were discovered at the site of a former residential school in British Columbia that had been run by the Catholic Church. Days later, Pope Francis expressed pain over the discovery and urged church and political authorities to work together, but did not apologize.

Weeks later, more than 600 unmarked graves were discovered at another site in Saskatchewan.

At least 4,100 children died at the schools between the 19th century and the 1970s, according to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The report detailed harsh mistreatment of Indigenous children at the schools, which more than 150,000 children were forced to attend as an effort to assimilate them into Canadian society.

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from Associated Press reports

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