Pope apologizes for abuse at Catholic boarding schools for indigenous people in Canada

Pope Francis asked this Friday for “apologies” for the tragedy of violence carried out for decades in Catholic boarding schools for indigenous people in Canada, and expressed his desire to travel to that country at the end of July.

“I ask God for forgiveness” and “I join my brother Canadian bishops in apologizing,” the pontiff said during an audience at the Vatican before the Métis, Inuit and First Nations delegations from Canada.

Through the voices of the indigenous “I have received, with great sadness in my heart, the stories of suffering, deprivation, discriminatory treatment and various forms of abuse suffered by several of you, especially in boarding schools,” the Argentine pope declared. .

Francis lambasted the “ideological colonization” and the “assimilation action” of which “so many children were victims.”

The pope expressed his desire to travel to Canada at the end of July to convey his “closeness” to indigenous peoples.

“I would like to be with you this year” for the celebration of Santa Ana on July 26, he declared.

The Catholic Church of Canada presented a formal apology to indigenous peoples last September after the discovery of more than 1,000 graves near former boarding schools, where children had been isolated from their families, language and culture, as a policy of forced assimilation. of the so-called First Nations.

The discovery in February of 54 more unmarked graves in two former Catholic residential colleges for natives, adding to the other burial mounds, once again shocked the country, shedding light on a dark page in history.

Between the late 19th century and the 1980s, some 150,000 indigenous, mestizo, and Eskimo children were forcibly recruited from 139 boarding schools in Canada.

Thousands of them died, mostly from malnutrition, disease or neglect, in what the Committee for Truth and Reconciliation called “cultural genocide,” according to a 2015 report. Others were physically or sexually abused.

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