Quebec. Pope Francis on Wednesday denounced “ideological colonization” and offered his apology to indigenous peoples for decades of abuse during a speech to senior Canadian officials who called on him to take steps for “genuine reconciliation”. For the atrocities committed in the church centers in the country.
The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics visited Quebec City on Wednesday, the third of a six-day tour of Canada that began with an apology for the mistreatment of Indigenous children at Catholic boarding schools.
The 85-year-old pontiff on Wednesday attacked the “outrageous” school system, again expressing his “deep shame and pain”. “I renew my request for forgiveness for the evil done by many Christians to indigenous peoples,” he said.
Francis criticized the “colonial mentality” of the past, saying that “today there are many forms of ideological colonization that clash with the reality of life, suppress people’s natural attachment to their values and seek to overthrow their traditions.” their history and their religious ties.
in his speech, Pope defends multiculturalism and promised to “work for healing and reconciliation,” promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and “moving forward on a fraternal and patient path.”
From the late 19th century to the 1990s, the Canadian government sent some 150,000 children to 139 church-run boarding schools, where they were cut off from their families, language and culture in an attempt to forcibly assimilate.
Many suffered physical and sexual abuse, and thousands are believed to have died from disease, malnutrition or neglect.
Francis’ repeated apologies during his visit were welcomed in Canada, though many indigenous people who spoke to AFP warned there was still a long way to go.
Canada’s first Indigenous governor-general Mary Simon reminded Francis of the work ahead in Quebec on Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said, “Wherever you listen to us from… you are on indigenous land.”
Simon praised survivors of catholic boarding schools Those who came to hear the Pope “with an open heart and mind, some ready to forgive and some still living in pain, but all ready to listen.”
The governor said the pontiff’s visit was “an important step towards greater dialogue and actions that lead to true reconciliation.” Trudeau focused his attention on the importance of the victims and their families. “The survivors and their descendants should be at the center of everything we do in the future,” he said.
The Pope also attacked cancel culture on Wednesday, calling it “a fashion that … is intolerant of difference and focuses on the present, on the needs and rights of individuals, while often neglecting their duties.” in relation to the weakest and most vulnerable”.
The Pontiff reiterated his views on the war in Ukraine, warning of the dangers of an “arms race and deterrence strategies” and a “terrible and prolonged Cold War”.
Along the highway from the airport to the heartland of Quebec, hundreds of people with smartphones in their hands crowded behind barriers to see the Pope in his white Fiat. Some carried welcome signs and Vatican flags.
On Thursday, Francis will give Mass at the National Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, one of North America’s major pilgrimage sites. He would later go to the Notre Dame de Québec Cathedral to deliver a sermon.
On Friday, he will travel to the Arctic archipelago of Nunavut, where he will visit the city of Iqaluit, the final stop on his six-day trip.
Francisco is currently suffering from pain in his knees, which is why he has been seen using a wheelchair on several occasions during this journey.