Monday, 14 June, 2021

Pope voices sorrow over Canadian deaths, doesn't apologize

Trudeau The UN urged the Vatican to investigate the remains of 215 children found at a 'mass grave' at a former Catholic school
Gustavo Carr | 06 June, 2021, 18:55

Canada has been convulsed by the discovery of the remains at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia ― especially as there were only 50 deaths officially on record there.

The UN called on the Vatican to help investigate a mass grave found at a Catholic school for Indigenous children in Canada.

The discovery this week of the remains of the children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978, has reopened old wounds and is fueling outrage about a persistent lack of information and accountability.

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.

"As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position that the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years", Trudeau told a news conference.

He noted that when he met with Francis at the Vatican in 2017 he had asked him to "move forward on apologizing" and on making records available.

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But Trump maintains wide influence in Republican political circles, even if his online presence has all but disappeared. FILE - President Donald Trump's Twitter feed is photographed on an Apple iPad in New York, June 27, 2019.

The school was run by the Catholic Church between the late 1800s and the 1960s.

Many Canadians have called on the pope to make a formal apology for the Catholic Church's role in the residential schools, which operated between 1831 and 1996 and were run by a number of Christian denominations on behalf of the government.

"May the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to work together with determination to shed light on that sad story and to humbly commit themselves to a path of reconciliation and healing", he said. "It's something we are all still waiting for the Catholic Church to do", he said.

Francis' comments spoke of healing but not of apology.

"These hard moments represent a strong call to distance ourselves from the colonial model and from today's ideological colonizing and to walk side by side in dialogue, in mutual respect and in recognizing rights and cultural values of all the daughters and sons of Canada", the pope said.

The gruesome discovery was made at a former boarding school, where Canadian authorities forcibly took indigenous children to assimilate them into "European cultural practices" since the 19th century. The Calls to Action report was released in 2015.