Pope apologizes to Canada's indigenous peoples for abuses in residential schools

'I ask for forgiveness from God for this reprehensible conduct by some members of the Church,' says Pope Francis.

Pope apologizes to Canada's indigenous peoples for abuses in residential schools

Pope Francis on Friday apologized to the representatives of Canadian indigenous peoples for the abuses suffered by the students of church-run residential schools in Canada, local media reported on Friday.

“I ask for forgiveness from God for this reprehensible conduct by some members of the Church,” Francis told an audience with the indigenous and Canadian bishops, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

“I am very pained, I join Canadian bishops in asking forgiveness of you,” the agency quoted the pope as saying.

The pontiff also announced an upcoming visit to Canada. “See you in Canada where I will be able to better express to you my closeness.”

The meeting of three indigenous groups – Assembly of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit – with the pope was slated for December 2021 but was canceled due to the emerging omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The groups have the same goal: to get a papal apology for the Catholic Church's role in running notorious Indian Residential Schools beginning in the 1820s through the 1990s when the last of 139 schools were closed.

Around 150,000 students were sent to the schools, at times taken from their families by force to eradicate the indigenous culture.

About 4,500 students died while some others were subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.

During the past year, more than 1,800 unmarked graves have been identified at various residential school sites across Canada.

About 60% were run by the Catholic Church and the rest by other Christian churches.

Apologies have been made by various individuals and groups representing the Catholic Church but Francis’ today's remarks are the first by a pope.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Nisan 2022, 22:40

Hüseyin Demir

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