Saturday, 19 June, 2021


Pope voices sorrow over Canadian deaths, doesn't apologize

Canada PM Trudeau urges Catholic church to 'take responsibility' for school abuses Canadian Indigenous tribe calls for public apology from Catholic Church for abuse against students
Melba Vasquez | 07 June, 2021, 04:24

Pope Francis expressed sorrow Sunday for the gruesome discovery of a mass grave in Canada containing the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children.

"I unite with the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my solidarity with the Canadian people traumatised by this shocking news". "This sad discovery increases the awareness of the sorrows and sufferings of the past".

Speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square for his weekly blessing, Francis urged Canadian political and Catholic religious leaders to "cooperate with determination" to shed light on the finding and to seek reconciliation and healing.

Judy Sackaney and her grandson Creedence, 10, stand in front of an honor staff with tobacco ties at the Centennial Flame after participating in a Pipe Ceremony to honor the 215 children whose remains were found at the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia.

"We commend to the Lord the souls of all the children who have died in the Canadian residential schools, and we pray for the grief-stricken Indigenous families and communities of Canada", Francis added.

"These hard moments represent a strong appeal for all of us to move away from the colonizing model and also from today's ideological colonizations", he said, "and walk side by side in dialogue, in mutual respect and in the recognition of the rights and cultural values of all the sons and daughters of Canada". Most were run by the Catholic Church on behalf of the government.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that his government was prepared to take "stronger measures, ' possibly including legal action, to obtain the documents demanded by victims" families if the church fails to comply.

Some 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Metis youngsters in total were enrolled in 139 of these residential schools, where students were physically and sexually abused by headmasters and teachers who stripped them of their culture and language. Trudeau said on Friday many are "wondering why the Catholic Church in Canada is silent, is not stepping up".

"And then as we move forward, looking at concrete ways, where we can really make a difference here", he says.

"As we ring our bells, perhaps as many as 215 times in honour of each child, we do so with our advocacy and prayers for truth, justice, healing and reconciliation", said the Church of the Epiphany on its Facebook page. A spokesman for Trudeau declined further comment on Sunday.

The United, Presbyterian and Anglican churches have apologized for their roles in the abuse, as has the Canadian government, which has offered compensation.

In 2009, then Pope Benedict XVI met with former students and survivors and told them of his "personal anguish" over their suffering.

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