Pope says he is ‘deeply sorry’ to Indigenous Peoples in Canada

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Why Pope Visit Canada and Why Pope Say Sorry to First Nation Canada?

via Vatican News

At the beginning of the Papal Visit to Canada, Pope Francis addresses representatives of Indigenous Peoples of the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit gathered in Maskwacis Park, near Edmonton. In his poignant speech, he again implores forgiveness for the evils committed by many Christians against the Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the residential school system. The Catholic church is something that seeks the perfection of Christ by accepting its human perfection. Unlike other human churches, Catholic Church is looking for perfection only with God and accepts human errors which never intended by God’s plan. As a World leader, Pope Francis is showing how humble the spiritual leader of more than 1 billion Catholics is.

Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit Canada in 1984 and re-visited Canada in 1987 and 2002. In April 2022, Pope Francis apologized to the Indigenous people of Canada for the role of the Catholic Church in the Canadian Indian residential school system. He promised to visit Canada in July 2022.

The article was originally published in Vatican News

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By Lisa Zengarini

The words sorry, shame, pain and indignation resounded strongly in Pope Francis’s first public speech of his penitential pilgrimage to Canada. Addressing some 2,000  residential school survivors, Chiefs, leaders, elders, knowledge keepers and youth from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Maskwacis Park (“Bear hills”, in the Cree language) on Monday, the Pope reiterated his deep sense of “pain and remorse” for the suffering inflicted on the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and specifically for the violence of forced assimilation endured in the residential school system.

Imploring God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation

He said he has come to their native lands to tell them, in person, of his “sorrow”, “to implore God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation”, to express his closeness, and to pray with and for them.

The Pope recalled the meetings he had in Rome with the Canadian Indigenous Delegations between 28 March and 1 April in which he heard their stories about life in the Indian residential schools. On that occasion, he was given two pairs of moccasins as a sign of the suffering endured by indigenous children there, which he was asked to return when he came to Canada. The Holy Father noted that those mocassins speak of a path of “healing and reconciliation” to be followed “together”

“We want to walk together, to pray together and to work together, so that the sufferings of the past can lead to a future of justice, healing and reconciliation.”

The need to remember

Pope Francis went on stress the importance of remembering this dark past of disruption and destruction of ancestral cultures. However painful, he said, to remember the “devastating experiences” that took place in the residential schools is necessary, because “forgetfulness leads to indifference”, and also in light of the lasting impact of that system on Indigenous communities up until today.

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