Vatican City, March 28, 2022 (AFP) – Pope Francis met at the Vatican on Monday (28) with representatives of Canadian indigenous peoples to hear of the horrors perpetrated decades ago in Catholic Church boarding schools as a policy imposed. assimilation of the natives.
“The Pope listened to us. He listened to three of the many stories we had to share” and “nodded his head as our survivors recounted their experiences,” Cassidy Caron, president of the Mixed National Council, told reporters at the end of the meeting. meeting.
“I feel a little sorry for his reaction… The only words he spoke in English were ‘truth, justice and reparation’. I took that as a personal commitment,” added Caron outside St. Pedro.
“We hope by Friday, during his audience with everyone, the pope will recognize what we have shared with him” and that “this will lead to a public apology when he visits Canada,” he said, referring to a possible trip to Canada. country, the date of which can be announced at that time.
Francis should join the apologies made by representatives of other Christian churches involved in this tragedy as a gesture aimed at healing wounds.
It was the first in a series of meetings at the Vatican with 32 representatives of indigenous Canadians, who traveled to Rome and the Vatican accompanied by the country’s bishops, to hold individual meetings with the pope throughout the week.
The Canadian Catholic Church issued a formal apology to Indigenous Peoples in September 2021 following the discovery of more than 1,000 graves near a former boarding school where children were isolated from their families, language and culture as an assimilation policy. first country.
The discovery in February of 54 more unmarked graves at two former Catholic housing colleges for natives, in addition to other graves, once again shocked the country, shedding light on a dark page in history.
Between the late 19th century and the 1980s, about 150,000 Indigenous, mixed-race, and Eskimo children were forcibly recruited from Canada’s 139 boarding schools.
Thousands of them died, mostly from malnutrition, disease or neglect, in what the Truth and Reconciliation Committee called “cultural genocide”, according to a 2015 report. Others were physically or sexually abused.
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