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Pope voices sorrow over Canadian deaths, doesn't apologize

Pope voices sorrow over Canadian deaths, doesn't apologize”

Run by the government and church groups - the majority of them Catholic - the schools' stated aim was to assimilate indigenous children.

Some 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Metis youngsters in total were enrolled in 139 of these residential schools, where students were physically and sexually abused by headmasters and teachers who stripped them of their culture and language. The school was Canada's largest such facility and was operated by the Catholic Church between 1890 and 1969.

"I follow with sorrow the news that arrives from Canada about the upsetting discovery of the remains of 215 children", Francis said in his customary Sunday noon remarks to the public.

Pope Francis met today with two Canadian Cardinals as pressure mounts for the Catholic Church to take action and accept responsibility for the residential school system that targeted Indigenous children for decades. "The sad discovery further increases awareness of the pain and suffering of the past", he added.

Francis, who was elected pope in 2013, has already apologised for the Church's role in colonialism in the Americas but he has mostly chosen to make such apologies while visiting countries.

"We urge the authorities to conduct full-fledged investigations into the circumstances and responsibilities surrounding these deaths, including forensic examinations of the remains found, and to proceed to the identification and registration of the missing children", the United Nations said in a statement.

More news: Trump Pays Tribute to America's Fallen in Memorial Day Statement

On Friday, Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir, on whose land the Kamloops school still stands, told reporters the nation has not received any records from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate that would help identify the children.

He urged Canadian political and Catholic religious leaders to "cooperate with determination" to shed light on the findings and to seek reconciliation and healing.

"These hard moments represent a strong reminder for all of us to distance ourselves from the model of coloniser. and to walk side by side in dialogue and in mutual respect in the recognition of the rights and cultural values of all the sons and daughters of Canada", he said.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologised for the system.

Among the many recommendations of a government-established Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a papal apology. But his words weren't described as an apology.



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