“The Christian faith has played an essential role in shaping the highest ideals of Canada, characterized by the desire to build a better country for all its people,” he said Wednesday. “At the same time, it is necessary, in admitting our faults, to work together to accomplish a goal that I know all of you share: to promote the legitimate rights of the native populations and to favor processes of healing and reconciliation between them and the nonindigenous people of the country.”
After meeting with representatives of the indigenous peoples in Rome and, now, in Canada, Pope Francis looked to the future.
“The time we spent together made an impression on me and left a firm desire to respond to the indignation and shame for the sufferings endured by the indigenous peoples,” he said, “and to move forward on a fraternal and patient journey with all Canadians, in accordance with truth and justice, working for healing and reconciliation, and constantly inspired by hope.”
He cautioned against forms of colonization, particularly “ideological colonization,” that he said is practiced today.
“In the past, the colonialist mentality disregarded the concrete life of people and imposed certain predetermined cultural models,” he said, “yet today, too, there are any number of forms of ideological colonization that clash with the reality of life, stifle the natural attachment of peoples to their values, and attempt to uproot their traditions, history, and religious ties.”
He tied this kind of colonization to what he called “cancel culture.”
“This mentality, presumptuously thinking that the dark pages of history have been left behind, becomes open to the ‘cancel culture’ that would judge the past purely on the basis of certain contemporary categories,” he said. “The result is a cultural fashion that levels everything out, makes everything equal, proves intolerant of differences, and concentrates on the present moment, on the needs and rights of individuals, while frequently neglecting their duties with regard to the most weak and vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.”
He identified the vulnerable as the poor, migrants, the elderly, the sick, and the unborn — or “the forgotten ones in ‘affluent societies’” who “are cast aside like dry leaves to be burnt.”
“Instead, the rich multicolored foliage of the maple tree reminds us of the importance of the whole, the importance of developing human communities that are not blandly uniform, but truly open and inclusive,” he said, referencing the tree leaves holding national significance in Canada.
Throughout his speech, he repeatedly drew from the imagery of the maple leaf.