Pope Heads to Canada to Make Amends for Indigenous Faculty Scandal

Pope Francis left Rome on Sunday for Canada for an opportunity to personally apologize to Indigenous survivors of abuse dedicated over a span of a long time at residential faculties run by the Catholic Church.

The pinnacle of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics will likely be met at Edmonton’s worldwide airport by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

You are reading: Pope Heads to Canada to Make Amends for Indigenous Faculty Scandal

The Pope’s airplane took off from Rome shortly after 9:00 am native time (0700 GMT).

The ten-hour flight constitutes the longest since 2019 for the 85-year-old pope, who has been affected by knee ache that has pressured him to make use of a cane or wheelchair in current outings.

The pope was in a wheelchair on Sunday and used a lifting platform to board the airplane, an AFP correspondent accompanying him mentioned.

Francis’ Canada go to is primarily to apologize to survivors for the Church’s position within the scandal {that a} nationwide reality and reconciliation fee has known as ‘cultural genocide.’

Earlier than he left, the pope mentioned on Twitter he was making a ‘penitential pilgrimage’ that ‘would possibly contribute to the journey of reconciliation already undertaken.’

He will likely be joined on the go to by his diplomacy chief, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s second most senior official.

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From the late 1800s to the Nineties, Canada’s authorities despatched about 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit youngsters into 139 residential faculties run by the Church, the place they have been minimize off from their households, language and tradition.

Many have been bodily and sexually abused by headmasters and lecturers.

1000’s of youngsters are believed to have died of illness, malnutrition or neglect.

Since Could 2021, greater than 1,300 unmarked graves have been found on the websites of the previous faculties.

A delegation of Indigenous peoples travelled to the Vatican in April and met the pope – a precursor to Francis’ six-day journey – after which he formally apologized.

‘Too late’

Locally of Maskwacis, some 100 kilometers south of Edmonton, the pope will tackle an estimated crowd of 15,000 anticipated to incorporate former college students from throughout the nation.

‘I would love lots of people to come back,’ mentioned Charlotte Roan, 44, interviewed by AFP in June. The member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation mentioned she needed folks to come back ‘to listen to that it wasn’t made up.’

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Others see the pope’s go to as too little too late, together with Linda McGilvery with the Saddle Lake Cree Nation close to Saint Paul, about 200 kilometers east of Edmonton.

‘I would not exit of my method to see him,’ mentioned the 68-year-old.

‘For me it is sort of too late, as a result of plenty of the folks suffered, and the clergymen and the nuns have now handed on.’

McGilvery spent eight years of her childhood in one of many faculties, from age six to 13.

‘Being within the residential faculty I misplaced plenty of my tradition, my ancestry. That is a few years of loss,’ she informed AFP.

After a mass earlier than tens of 1000’s of devoted in Edmonton on Tuesday, Francis will head northwest to an necessary pilgrimage website, the Lac Sainte Anne.

Following a go to to Quebec Metropolis from July 27-29, he’ll finish his journey in Iqaluit, house to the biggest Inuit inhabitants in Canada, the place he’ll meet with former residential faculty college students, earlier than returning to Italy.

Francis is the second pope to go to Canada, after John Paul II, who visited thrice (1984, 1987 and 2002).

Some 44% of Canada’s inhabitants is Catholic.

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