Catholic World News

Canadian archbishop has spoken with Pope about apology for native school

May 30, 2017

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, told reporters that he has spoken with Pope Francis about the calls for a papal apology for the Church’s role in the “residential schools” that were established in Canada in the 19th century to educate the children of native tribes.

During a meeting with the Pope on May 29, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the Pontiff to make an apology. Archbishop Smith said that he and other Canadian bishops have already conferred with the Pope on the same issue.

The archbishop suggested that if the Pope were to apologize, it would be done during a visit to Canada. At present there are no plans for a papal visit.

Archbishop Smith did not indicate whether he expected the Pope to make an apology. He said that “we trust he will do what is right and what is good.”


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  • Posted by: MatJohn - May. 31, 2017 10:57 PM ET USA

    Only uncontrollable hubris would prompt a head of state to ask another head, in this case the pope, to apologize for upholding the Church's mission to save souls. Trudeau conveniently ignores his country's past deplorable actions to its minorities. Justin, where are your apologies?

  • Posted by: hopefully - May. 30, 2017 11:36 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the date for the apology could be set for October 19, the feast of St. Isaac Jogues and the North American martyrs.

  • Posted by: feedback - May. 30, 2017 10:30 PM ET USA

    This was a 19th century Canadian government project. It appears that PM Trudeau, who represents the government, with the assistance of an Archbishop, who represents the local Church, are trying to shift the blame away from their predecessors and all the way up to the Pope, who represents Christ and the entire Catholic Church. Pope Francis is usually quick to "apologize," but he must do it in a way that doesn't distort the historical truth. Otherwise his "apologies" only hurt the whole Church.

  • Posted by: gbrisebois1656 - May. 30, 2017 6:21 PM ET USA

    It was the government that forced the Church to operate those schools in the first place, wasn't it? Maybe the government should be apologizing to the Church?