Saturday, March 25, 2023

Pope Francis apologizes for the evil the Church has done to the natives of Canada. He mourned the “cultural destruction” of the natives at a school in downtown Edmonton.

Pope Francis on Monday apologized “for the evil that so many Christians have done against indigenous peoples”. in residential schools operating in Canada between the late 19th century and the 1990s, and lamented The “colonialist mentality” of church members because of which a The “cultural destruction” of the natives,

The Pope, who arrived in Canada this Sunday, went on Monday to the town of Muskavasis, where one of the largest boarding schools was located. erminskinManaged by the Catholic Church and where children, separated from their families, were forced to forget their customs and culture and many of them died due to the terrible conditions in which they lived.

Francis’ repentance was greeted with applause by crowds of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who gathered at Maskawasis in Alberta’s Western Province, where indigenous children were taken from their families and considered “genocide”. . cultural. Francisco visited the cemetery of this schoolwhere some of those who died in this residential school are buried and Kissed very tall banner with 4,120 names of deceased children identified so far,

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“colonial mindset”

“I am here to tell you with all my heart that I am deeply hurt: I’m sorry for thisAlas, Many Christians adopted the colonial mindset of the powers that oppressed the indigenous peopleFrancis sat among the representatives of the chiefs of the native peoples in Spanish and in front of more than two thousand people, including several victims of these apprenticeships.

The Pope recalled that “assimilation and dissolution policiesincluding the residential school system, were disastrous for the people of these countries“Hundreds of people, many in traditional costumes, were in attendance for the event, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the country’s first indigenous governor general, Mary Simon. Indigenous leaders donned a traditional feathered headdress and put on the pontiff.

“They systematically marginalized indigenous peoples”Jorge Bergoglio, who described how “through the residential school system, their languages ​​and cultures were stigmatized and suppressed; children suffered physical and verbal, psychological and spiritual abuse; when they were young They were then taken from their homes and this indelibly marked the relationship between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren.

Francis also apologized, “in particular, for the manner in which many members of the Church and religious communities cooperated, also through indifference, in those projects of cultural destruction and the forced assimilation of the governments of the time, who ended up in residential school. Arrangement. The Pope assured that “What Christianity tells us is that this was a disastrous mistake, inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ”,

And echoing the requests of some indigenous peoples of the Catholic Church, he assured that this process of reconciliation would require “a serious discovery of the truth about the past and help complete the healing processes of survivors of residential schools.” Shocks suffered. The Pope spoke in an area where one of the 139 residential schools designed by the Canadian state was operating through which 150,000 native children separated from their parents and continued their customs. called “Western”.

“The place where we find ourselves echoes the scream of pain, a suffocating clamor that accompanied me all these months”Francisco said and mentioned “Physical, psychological and spiritual abuse” suffered by children, Several counselors were set up on site to provide emotional support. Not long ago, volunteers gave away small paper bags to “collect tears”.

Before beginning his speech, Francisco visits an indigenous cemetery, where he prays in solitude in a wheelchair, with whom he follows parts of the journey. Then he heard thanks to one of the chieftains, Wilton Littlechild, who had attended Erminskine boarding school for 14 years. Littlechild thanked Francis “from the bottom of my heart” for his words and added: “I was a student here at Erminskine Residential School, which represents all the residential schools in our country from your visit among us to this day. “

This Tuesday, the Pope will hold a mass celebration at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, where some 65,000 people are expected to attend., before visiting Lake Sainte-Anne, an important annual pilgrimage site. On Wednesday, he will visit Quebec City before the final leg of the trip, on Friday in Iqaluit, a city in northern Canada in the Arctic Archipelago. According to the organisers, his agenda was adjusted to avoid major displacement due to his health condition.

a possible path to reconciliation

Representatives of the indigenous peoples (First Nations, Métis and Unites) demand from the Catholic Church that those responsible for the schools be brought to justice, that the archives be opened for examination, as well as some pieces of art that belonged to them and which are in the Vatican Museums. According to local media, for some of them, the Pope’s words helped open the way for reconciliation.

“The words of Pope Francis today and this spring in Rome represent a journey that has taken more than 180 years. By apologizing for past abuses, Francis has helped open the door for victims and their families to walk with the Church for the present and future of forgiveness and healing., I accept and choose this path,” he explained. Phil FontaineFormer head of the First Nations Assembly, who attended two residential schools in Manitoba.

For his part, Cornell McLean, acting grand chief of the Manitoba Assembly of Chiefs, insisted that “an apology does not ease the pain of lost children who never came home,” although he called the church “a spirit of reconciliation.” encouraged to grow”. assuming solid commitments and true compensation in the future”.

a hidden story

Canada is slowly opening its eyes to this described past “Culture Massacre” by a National Commission of Inquiry. search More than 1,300 anonymous graves in 2021 A wave of disapproval arose in the country near these centres. The long-awaited, Pope’s visit, which will last six days, sparks hope among some of the survivors and their families. Many also expect symbolic gestures, such as Restoration of indigenous art objects preserved in the Vatican for decades,

From the late 19th century to the 1990s, the Canadian government sent 150,000 children to 139 church-run boarding schools, where they were separated from their families, language and culture. Many suffered physical and sexual abuse by headmasters and teachers, and thousands are believed to have died from disease, malnutrition or neglect.

government of canada Compensated millions of dollars to alumni and officially forgave themselves for creating these schools 14 years ago “Kill the indigenous in the heart of the child”, after the government Anglican Church also apologized, But the Catholic Church, in charge of more than 60 percent of these schools, had not done so until now.

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