Catholic World News

Canadian PM to ask Pope to apologize for abuse in residential schools

December 18, 2015

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada—a body established in 2008 to examine abuse that took place in the nation’s Indian residential schools—has issued its final report.

Beginning in the 1870s, “Canada separated [indigenous] children from their parents, sending them to residential schools,” the report stated. “This was done not to educate them, but primarily to break their link to their culture and identity.”

Some 60% of the schools were administered by Catholic religious orders. Tracing the schools’ history, the 535-page summary of the final report refers to the Church and Catholic institutions over 200 times.

The commission issued 94 “calls to action,” including the following:

We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to ask Pope Francis to issue an apology.

“Different churches, including the Catholic Church, are very much engaged with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and I am certainly intending to work with the Catholic Church, including with the Holy See, to move forward with implementing that recommendation, to ask him directly to engage with this issue,” he said.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 21, 2015 4:55 PM ET USA

    The Catholic Church should apologize for not adjusting its schedule for the Sacrament of Penance to conform to my personal schedule. The Church should apologize for CINO schools. The Church should apologize for weird things the Pope says in public. The Church should apologize for creating hospitals, women's health centers, charities, and other works of mercy that do as God does, and not as the world does. Heck, the Church should apologize for existing! But as we know, that would not be enough.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Dec. 18, 2015 11:45 PM ET USA

    It was the Canadian Government that should be apologising for creating the system and not properly overseeing it.

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Dec. 18, 2015 7:41 PM ET USA

    That will show the Church whose hand it is trying to kiss.