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Pope to express regret for widespread Canadian abuse scandal

April 15, 2009

Pope Benedict will meet with the leader of Canadian Native Americans after his April 29 general audience and express regret for the widespread physical and sexual abuse that took place in the nation’s residential schools. “We know the Pope will produce a text in which he will express his solicitude, recognize what has occurred, and manifest regret,” said a spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Between the 19th century and the 1970s, an estimated 150,000 aboriginal children were removed from their families to be educated in these schools, many of which were run by Catholic religious orders. From 1920 to 1948, the Canadian government, by national policy, mandated the removal of all aboriginal children from their families. Last June, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a historic public apology to former students of residential schools on behalf of the government.

 


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