Vatican City ( Associated Press) – Pope Francis asked Sunday prayers for his upcoming “atonement” visit to Canada to apologize to indigenous groups for abuses committed by the Catholic Church.
Peter’s Square in Vatican City, the pontiff noted that on July 24, “by God’s will” he would begin his seven-day visit to Canada.
The Pope said, “Dear Canadian brothers and sisters, as you know, I shall be with you and above all to meet and embrace the indigenous population in Jesus name.”
“Unfortunately in Canada, many Christians, including members of religious institutions, contributed to policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have caused great harm to native communities in various ways,” he said.
“For this reason, recently in the Vatican I have met several groups, representatives of indigenous peoples, to whom I expressed my sorrow and my solidarity for their evil,” said the pontiff.
“I will now embark on a repentant journey that, I hope, by the grace of God, will contribute to the path of healing and reconciliation that has already begun,” the pope called on the believers to “mine mine with their prayers.” asked to support”. Pilgrimage.
When he met with Indigenous representatives in the spring, the pontiff apologized for the abuses committed by church schools in Canada. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission asked him to express his apology on Canadian soil.
More than 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were forcibly taken into Catholic schools from the 19th century to the 1970s, as part of a campaign to Christianize them and assimilate them into white culture.
The Canadian government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse is rampant in those schools. Indigenous leaders condemned that the legacy of abuse is the root cause of problems such as alcoholism and drug addiction in their communities.