Pope Francis began this Sunday, July 24, a tense six-day official visit to Canada, with the main objective of apologizing to indigenous peoples for the abuses of missionaries in Christian boarding schools, between the 19th century and the 1970s. The pontiff also referred to the war in Ukraine and assured that he has a “great desire” to visit Kyiv.
Pope Francis described his official visit to Canada as a “penitential journey”. the abuses they suffered from religious in boarding schools between the 19th century and the 1970s, in the so-called “assimilation” processes. This is a key step in the Vatican’s efforts to reconcile with the native communities of North America North and help them heal traumas that span generations. “This is a penitential journey, we do it in this spirit,” Francis said, during the journey aboard the papal plane, before being received at the airport in Edmonton, Alberta, by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mary May Simon, the nation’s first Indigenous Governor General, of the Inuit people.
The pope has given priority to meetings with aboriginal peoples, will hold at least five meetings with them, while talks with the country’s authorities are scheduled until Wednesday, July 27, in Quebec. However, indigenous groups seek more than just words at a time when they press for access to the Church’s archives in order to know the fate of children sent to boarding schools and who never returned home.
They also demand justice and punishment for abusers, economic reparations and the return of indigenous relics held by the Vatican Museums. “This apology validates our experiences and creates an opportunity for the church to repair relations with indigenous peoples around the world. But this does not ends here, there is much to do. It’s a start,” said Grand Chief George Arcand Jr. of the Treaty Six Confederacy. The Canadian government has admitted that physical and sexual abuse were rampant in state-funded Christian schools, which operated from the 19th century to the present day. 1970s. Around 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and forced to attend in an effort to insulate them from the influence of their native homes, languages and cultures and “fit in” with Canada’s Christian society.
The Truth Commission and the country’s Reconciliation, in 2015, called for a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil, but it was only in 2021, after the remains of around 200 children were found at the former Kamloops residential school in British Columbia, that The Vatican moved to comply with the request. “Honestly, I think if it wasn’t for the discovery and all the attention that was put on the clerics or the Catholic Church, I don’t think anything would happen.
This would have happened,” said Raymond Frogner, senior archivist at the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, which serves as a resource for research on what happened in those Catholic schools. This visit also represents a test for the health of the pope, who had to cancel a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan in early July due to a knee problem that has recently forced him to use a wheelchair and a cane.
The pope notes “great wish” to visit Ukraine The Vatican leader also once again denounced the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, expressed his support for the attacked country and called for an end to the conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands of people and leaves more than 9 million citizens in the exile. “I have a great desire to go to kyiv,” the pope said when asked about a possible future trip to Ukraine. No pope has ever visited Moscow and Francis has repeatedly condemned iva the Russian invasion against the neighboring country of him.
Last June he implicitly accused the Kremlin of waging a “cruel and senseless war of aggression.” [email protected] said on Sunday he yearned to visit #Ukraine, in his efforts to try and bring an end to a five-month-old war that he has repeatedly decried.”I have a great desire to go to #Kyiv,” the pope said when asked about a possible trip to Ukraine.
In an exclusive interview earlier this July, the religious leader told Reuters that he hoped to be able to go to the Russian capital and Kyiv shortly after his trip to Canada. interview, the Government of Vladimir Putin indicated that he had not had substantial contact with the Vatican regarding a possible visit, while Ukraine renewed its invitation to the pontiff to address that nation. In July, on his second day on tour in Canada, the pontiff is scheduled to meet with survivors of missionary abuse near a former boarding school in Maskwacis, where he is expected to make an official apology.
With Reuters, AP and EFE
Source: France 24