Pope Rejects Call for Apology to Canada’s Indigenous People

Source: The Washington Post

OTTAWA — Despite a personal appeal from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Roman Catholic Church has said that Pope Francis will not apologize for its role in a Canadian system that forced generations of Indigenous children into boarding schools.

The residential school system, as it is commonly known in Canada, was described as a form of “cultural genocide” by a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 that also concluded that many students were physically and emotionally abused.

Among its 94 recommendations was a call for an apology from the pope. The Catholic Church, along with several Protestant denominations, operated most of the schools for the government.

“The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously,” Bishop Lionel Gendron, who is president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in an open letter to Canada’s Indigenous people released on Tuesday. “After carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the Bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond.”

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