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pope francis canada visit

Highlights

  • There was physical and sexual abuse in schools
  • children were taken away from their families
  • forced to form in Christian society

Pope Francis Canada Apology: Pope Francis on Sunday began his historic visit to Canada to apologize to locals for the mistreatment of missionaries in residential schools. It is seen as an important step in the Catholic Church’s efforts to reconcile indigenous communities and help them recover from the trauma of the period. He was received at the Edmonton, Alberta airport by local community representatives, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and member of the local group ‘Inuk’ and the country’s first ethnic Governor General Mary Simon. On reaching here, Francis kissed the hand of a residential school victim.

Francis indicated that it was an ‘atonement pilgrimage’ to atone for the role of Catholic missionaries in forcibly reuniting generations of native children with the current generation. A visit that has drawn mixed reactions from victims and their families across Canada, who have long demanded an apology from the Pope for the atrocities committed against them. Francis had no official schedule on Sunday, giving him time to rest before his meeting on Monday. He is expected to pray and apologize in a cemetery with the victims near a former residential school in Maskavasis here.

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Pope kisses Desjarlis’ hand

When Francis was introduced to Elma Desjarlis, a victim at the Frog Lake First Nations residential school, he kissed Desjarlis’ hand. George Arcand Jr., Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, congratulated the pope and said, ‘Right now, many of our people are skeptical and hurt.’ However, he expressed hope that with the Pope’s apology, ‘we can begin the journey to overcome this shock and change the way things have been for us people over the years.’

The Canadian government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse was widespread in government-funded Christian schools that operated from the 19th century to the 1970s. About 150,000 Native community children were taken away from their families and forced to separate themselves from the influence of their homes, native languages ​​and cultures, and to settle in the Christian society of Canada.

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mistakes have been accepted in the past

In the past, even top Protestant leaders have slowly acknowledged the historical wrongs of their churches. Many of the apologies sought by Christian denominations are for serious crimes that include genocide, sexual abuse, slavery, war, and other crimes. Jeremy Bergen, an expert on church apology and professor of religious studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, said that although church apologies are now commonplace, it is a relatively modern phenomenon. Bergen said, ‘Until the 20th century, the church did not apologize for its wrongdoings.’

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He pointed to significant apologies made after World War II, in particular by the Protestant Church of Germany declaring that they had failed to adequately resist the Nazis. He said the Church’s apologies also increased due to the increased emphasis on human rights in the 1990s after the Cold War. The apology is similar to what Francis asked for Canada’s first citizens, the Inuit and Métis communities, in Rome in April.

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