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Pope to visit Canada in July to meet residential school survivors | News about local rights


The July 24-30 visit comes after Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in the abuse of indigenous children.

Warning: The story below contains details about residential schools that may upset you. The Canadian Indian School and Family Crisis Survivors Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

Pope Francis will visit Canada at the end of July, the Vatican has announced, when the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is expected to meet Indigenous people who survived abuse committed at so-called residential schools.

The Vatican said on Friday the 85-year-old would visit Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit, and said more details about the July 24-30 visit would be announced in the coming weeks.

The announcement came after the pope last month sorry for abuses committed by members of the church against Indigenous children in neighborhood schools.

Addressing Indigenous delegates at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he feels “sad and ashamed” about the role Catholics play in the many harms that indigenous children suffer from attending school. forced assimilation institute.

“For the reprehensible behavior of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask God’s forgiveness and I want to tell you with all my heart, I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the bishops of Canada, asking for his pardon,” he said.

Map of old residential schools in Canada

Canada forced more than 150,000 children from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis to attend residential schools between the late 1800s and 1990s. The children were stripped of their language and culture, and separated from their siblings. children, and subjected to psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.

Thousands are believed to have died while studying at the academies, most of which are run by the Roman Catholic Church. A federal commission of inquiry into Canada’s residential schools, known as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), concluded in 2015 that the system amounted to a “crime of cultural genocide”. “.

The discovered unmarked graves at former residential school sites across Canada over the past year spurred new calls for accountability – and an apology from the Catholic Church especially.

The Pope’s apology last month was welcomed by Indigenous leaders, but they have called on him to visit Canada to apologize to the native land.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that “a direct formal apology from the head of the Roman Catholic Church to the survivors and their families would be an important step” to push forward. promote meaningful reconciliation for the Indigenous Peoples of our country”.

Edmonton is home to the second largest Indigenous population living in Canada’s urban centers, and about 25 residential schools are located in Alberta, most provinces or territories in Canada, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Canada. said.

Archbishop Edmonton Richard Smith, who is coordinating the pope’s visit on behalf of the bishops of Canada, said the pope will visit a former residential school site “and other important sites”.

Quebec is home to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, one of the oldest and most famous pilgrimage sites in North America, while Iqaluit, on the vast Baffin Island, is the capital of the territory of Nunavut, where inhabited by many Inuit.

Bishop Raymond Poisson said Canada’s bishops are “deeply grateful” for the pope’s visit to “continue the journey of healing and reconciliation.”

Francis is expected to repeat his apology to victims of school abuse and the victims’ relatives.



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