The Canadian Leader has requested Pope Francis to apologize for the church’s role in Canada’s cultural genocide in residential schools.
After attending the G7 summit Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau paid a visit to Pope Francis in Rome.
During the brief visit, the PM in an over 30 minutes discussion with the Holy Father requested him to tender a formal apology to Canada for the role the Catholic church played in the abuse of children in a Canadian school system.
The PM requested the Pope to consider a public apology for reconciliation purposes.
“I told him how important it is for Canadians to move forward on real reconciliation with the indigenous peoples and I highlighted how he could help by issuing an apology,”
“We talked about how important it is to highlight the scientific basis of protecting our planet and the moral and ethical obligations to lead, to build a better future for all people on this earth,”
The Residential school in question operated from the 1880’s till 1996 when the school completely shut down.
Report says that the school in question infringed on the rights of the children to practice their culture.
About 150,000 aboriginal children were forcefully taken from their families, and sent to live in church-run boarding schools. They were forbidden to speak their language or practice their own culture.
It is not in doubt that colonial powers abused human rights even under the guise of the church.
A similar situation was the heartbreaking hardship and oppression suffered by native Indians in the United States.
For the abusive treatment meted out to the aboriginal children in Canada, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has requested an apology from the Holy Father as part of the healing process for survivors.
The commission has been collecting and documenting the experiences of the victims of the abusive residential schools.
A victim shared his traumatic childhood experience with BBC.
Joseph Maud was separated from his family at the age of 5 (1966). He was sent to live at a Canadian residential school for indigenous students in Pine Creek, Manitoba.
He broke down in tears as he recalled the inhumane treatment he got from one of the nuns in the school.
Painfully he recalled how he, as a little troubled boy would wet the bed; and the nun in charge of his dormitory would rub his face in his own urine.
“But the greatest hurt was being separated from my parents, cousins and uncles and aunties,”
“It was very degrading, humiliating. Because I’m sleeping in a dormitory with 40 other boys,”
“It’s bringing tears to my eyes right now just thinking about it.”
The now 56 year old man currently lives about an hour from Pine Creek.
So far the Vatican has not responded on the issue. However Pope Francis’ conversation with the PM was “focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues.”
The infamous Canadian residential school was run by the Canadian government in partnership with the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and United Churches.
Some of these churches have tendered their apologies for the roles of their members in aiding Canada’s cultural genocide.
In 2008, former prime minister Stephen Harper also issued an apology on behalf of Canadians, calling it “a sad chapter in our history”. PM Trudeau assures survivors and victims of the abusive residential school of a worthy reconciliation.