Pope will not apologize for abuse in Canada’s indigenous schools

The Guardian

March 28, 2018

Schools largely run by Catholic church took 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children away from families and force them to convert

Pope Francis will not apologize to survivors of Canada’s Indian residential schools for the role the Roman Catholic church played in operating the institutions or the abuses suffered there.

Some 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their families over much of the last century and put in the schools, where they were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally and sexually abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died. Almost two-thirds of the 130 schools were run by the Catholic church.

Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said on Wednesday in a letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada that Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by indigenous peoples around the world, but that he cannot personally issue an apology for residential schools in Canada.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada have been in dialogue with the Pope and the Holy See concerning the legacy of suffering you have experienced,” Gendron wrote.

“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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