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'I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil...': Pope Francis' apology for church's role in residential schools leaves Canadians divided

·4-min read

Warning: This story may be disturbing for some readers. For

On Monday, while in Maskwacis, Alta., Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s cooperation in Indigenous residential schools and the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples.

I am here because the first step of my penitential pilgrimage among you is that of again asking forgiveness, of telling you once more that I am deeply sorry. Sorry for the ways in which, regrettably, many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous Peoples.Pope Francis

"I am sorry. I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities co-operated, 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."

He went on to call for a "serious investigation" into what took place, "to assist the survivors of the residential schools to experience healing from the traumas they suffered."

"I myself wish to reaffirm this, with shame and unambiguously," the Pope said.

I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous Peoples.Pope Francis

"Although Christian charity was not absent, and there were many outstanding instances of devotion and care for children, the overall effects of the policies linked to the residential schools were catastrophic."

MASKWACIS, AB - JULY 25: People react as Pope Francis issues an apology for the treatment of First Nations in Canada's Residential School system his visit to Maskwacis, Canada on July 25, 2022. The Pope is touring Canada, meeting with Indigenous communities and community leaders in an effort to reconcile the harmful legacy of the church's role in Canada's residential schools. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
MASKWACIS, AB - JULY 25: People react as Pope Francis issues an apology for the treatment of First Nations in Canada's Residential School system his visit to Maskwacis, Canada on July 25, 2022. The Pope is touring Canada, meeting with Indigenous communities and community leaders in an effort to reconcile the harmful legacy of the church's role in Canada's residential schools. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

While the apology happened for Canada, and the world, to see and hear, many took to social media to comment on this appearance by Pope Francis, some saying it doesn't go far enough.

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