CNA Newsroom, 30 July, 2022 / 10:30 am (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis has agreed with the view that the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families and their treatment in Canada’s residential school system was a form of “cultural genocide.”
Speaking to journalists on the papal plane on July 30, the pope explained that he had not used the term “genocide” during his public apologies for past abuses perpetrated by Catholics in the system because it had not come to mind.
Canada’s residential school system, to which Pope Francis referred, ran for more than 100 years. It worked to stamp out indigenous culture and language systematically, often by removing children from their families by force. Catholic organizations ran at least 60% of the government-funded boarding schools.
The 85-year-old pontiff spoke at the end of a week-long trip to Canada in which he traveled to Edmonton, Québec, and Iqaluit on what he called a “penitential pilgrimage” to apologize and repeatedly express his shame and sorrow to the country’s indigenous communities for the role the Catholic Church played in the system.
In 2015, the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that the country’s residential schools system constituted a “cultural genocide.”