Pope Francis closed this Friday in Iqaluit in northern Canada, which is a six-day visit to the North American nation, which was requested to ask for forgiveness from indigenous peoples of the area for the role of Christians in abuses of all kinds. boarding schools for the natives, which operated most of the 20th century.
The Supreme Pontiff completed a visit to the city of 7,740 inhabitants, which began on Sunday in Edmonton and which was marked from the beginning by frequent requests for forgiveness from indigenous peoples on behalf of Christians and Church institutions. boarding schools that operated in Canada for western aboriginal children from 1883 to 1996.
During the trip, assisted in many sections by a wheelchair, Francis visited three cities representative of the three indigenous peoples of the region: Edmonton, with the predominant First Nation; Quebec, with most Métis and finally Iqaluit, Inuit territory.
In his last speech in Canada, 300 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, the Supreme Pontiff once again acknowledged the “indignation and disgrace” on the part of some members of the Church in the operation of the 139 residential schools that the Government established. Canada and what it has already defined as an experience that led to a “cultural failure.”
“Even today, even here, I would like to tell you that I am very sorry and I want to apologize for the evil committed by not a few Catholics who contributed to the policy of cultural assimilation and dissociation in those schools,” he told the group. of Inuit elders and youth.
“How bad it is to break the bonds between parents and children, to hurt the dearest affections, to hurt and offend the little ones,” he said of the educational projects that are funded by the Canadian government and for which, according to Officials estimate that nearly 15,000 children passed away without their parents’ consent.
In his ninth and final speech, the Supreme Pontiff deplored the current situation with “the world, which always seems to fall between scandals, wars, deceit, injustice, destruction of things, into contempt and into the lowest deception, on the part of those who owe.” set an example”.
Francis began his activities this Friday with a private meeting with the Canadian Jesuits and then received the indigenous people in the local archbishopric and told them that they feel “part of his family”.
“I dare to say, if you allow me, now in a certain sense I also feel part of your family and I feel honored,” the Supreme Pontiff said today, as he received a group of indigenous people from the Quebec region of the archdiocese. .
The pope told the barbarians that he would return “much richer.”
“Because in my heart I carry an incomparable treasure of people and towns that marked me, faces, smiles and words that remain inside me, stories and places that I cannot forget, sounds, colors and emotions that vibrate strongly in me,” he explained.
“I can truly say that, on my arrival, the realities of those natives of this land, who visited my soul, entered me and will always be with us,” said George Bergoglio, who visited the natives on his journey. cemetery, participated in a pilgrimage to the miraculous lake and apologized for the role of Christians in the boarding school system, which suffered some 150,000 children, among other gestures among the natives.
“I came to Canada as a friend to meet you, to see, to hear, to learn and to know how the indigenous people of this country live. I came as a brother to find the firstfruits, good and bad, produced by members of the local Catholic family over the years,” he said.
Although 139 boarding schools were established by the State, some 40 centers were managed by Christian and Catholic institutions.
“I came with a penitential spirit, expressing to you the pain that I bear in my heart for the evils that not a few Catholics have caused by supporting unjust plans,” the Supreme Pontiff recalled in his speech this Friday.
“I have come as a tourist, with my limited physical capabilities, to advance new steps with you and for you, so that the search for truth may continue, so that it can progress in the path of healing and promoting reconciliation; that hope continues to be planted in the future generations of indigenous and non-indigenous people who want to live in fraternal harmony “, they are called
The request for forgiveness for what the Pope considered a “crushing” experience of the interns, which according to Bergoglio was a “cultural exit” of the native custom, is a common thread of the six-day visit to Canada that Francis began on Sunday. .
Some of the boarding schools organized throughout the country, designed and financed by the Canadian state, were managed by Catholic and Christian institutions, so in 2015 the survivors asked for the need for a papal apology in Canada, which the Supreme Pontiff finally completed this week. .
In addition to asking for forgiveness from the natives, in repeated meetings with each town, the proposal of the Pope was passed on by Justin Trudeau to the Prime Minister of Canada.
In the middle of the trip, the Supreme Pontiff received a request from the Canadian Government to return to the Vatican a series of indigenous objects that the Holy See has had in its museums for more than a century, and according to Télam, he learned from official sources. The Vatican alleges that the mission was for the missionaries as well as Pius XI.