Pope Francis arrived in Canada this Sunday to begin a six-day visit that will be marked by apologizing to Indigenous peoples for abuses committed at church-run boarding schools between the late 19th century and the early 1990s . Will meet relatives and survivors of so-called residential schools.
With the motto “walking together”, the pontiff began the “atonement pilgrimage” in the North American country, as he defined it, during a 10-hour flight from Rome to Edmonton, where he would arrive at 11:08 pm (2:08 pm). ) landed. in Argentina) with Telam and other media aboard the Pope’s plane.
From this Monday through Friday, Pope Metis will meet with representatives of First Nations and Inuit peoples who have faced all kinds of abuse in residential schools funded by the Canadian state and in some cases managed by institutions of the Catholic Church. and other Christian groups.
In his first activity on Canadian soil, the pope was received by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and representatives of indigenous groups, who dedicated specific songs to him at a reception in the airport’s main hangar.
During the tour, Francisco, 85 years old and still recovering from pain in his right knee, will force him to travel in a wheelchair, traveling nearly 20,000 kilometers and visiting Quebec and Iqaluit.
The Pope’s presence on Canadian soil is one of 94 explicit requests made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015 to document the history of the suffering by the Government of Canada, with the participation of Indigenous representatives. was established for. Residential school.
“Call to Action 58 calls on the Pope to issue an apology to survivors, their families and communities for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of First Nations children, Inuit and Métis administration of residential schools,” TRC spokespersons told Telam.
For those responsible for the commission, “This journey and forgiveness is the first symbolic step on the path to healing and reconciliation, but the Catholic Church must follow this journey with honest, important and immediate action to repair and end the damage.” should be consistently committed by institutions within the Church,” he said.
From 1883 until the closing of the last residential school in 1996, some 150,000 native minors were separated from their families to form a systematic plan of forcible assimilation to westernize their customs, which the official reports Also called “cultural genocide”.
Francis, about 100 kilometers south of Edmonton, will begin his round of meetings with the indigenous population, with representatives from First Nations, Métis and Inuit, in the esplanade of one of the largest schools. Ermineskin, which operated between 1895 and 1975, served as a boarding school for children from those populations. Some of the people Francis met yesterday were part of delegations that traveled to the Vatican in late March and early April. Hear the first apology from the Pope that will now continue in his country.
Following the visit of the Maskawasis, the Pope will return to Edmonton to hold another meeting with local representatives and local ecclesiastical communities.
In addition to the abuse and poor living conditions of boarding schools as a result of the state’s low investment in facilities, indigenous peoples are estimated to have killed at least 4,100 children in schools amid poor living conditions and many were also buried in mass graves, Of which many discoveries have been made in recent years.
Vatican sources told Tellum that in addition to focusing on apologizing to indigenous peoples, the pope would also reference the issue of the environment during nine speeches he would deliver in Spanish in Canada, as well as renewed condemnation of colonialism. will do.
On a political level, Francis held a brief meeting with Trudeau at Edmonton airport on Sunday and on Thursday, on the second leg of the trip, he will hold a bilateral meeting with the premier in Quebec, the country’s east. Political and civil authority giving their traditional speech.