Pope Delivers Loaded Apology to Indigenous Canadians

A century has passed since the indigenous people of Canada suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church and Pope Francis is currently on a “pilgrimage of penance” to apologize for the wrongs his religion caused tens of thousands of people.

But apologies can never give back what they’ve taken away. From 1916 to 1975, at least 150,000 indigenous children were stripped from their families and forced to go to schools operated by the Catholic Church. More than 4,000 children died in the residential school system. And the church long denied issuing an apology despite all of the evidence.

These institutions forcibly took kids from their parents, subjected them to physical, sexual, and emotional torture, wiped out entire languages, and used Christianity as a tool to destroy Indigenous tribes and traditions. The majority of the government-sponsored schools were overseen by Christian churches, with Catholic organizations in charge of 60 to 70 percent of the roughly 130 schools where thousands of kids perished.

The Catholic Church is notorious for turning the other cheek and pretending that everything is just fine. Those who reside on Vatican grounds are immune from legal repercussions and only face judicial action within the Vatican itself, which rarely happens.

The Pope did not take full responsibility, however, as he skirted the blame by pointing out that the church was complying with the government at the time. 

The pope apologized, stating:

“I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.”

Over 2,000 students were in attendance, along with Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, the governor-general, Mary Simon, the Assembly of First Nations national chief, RoseAnne Archibald, and several federal lawmakers.

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