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Pope Francis starts ‘penitential pilgrimage’ to Canada

Pope Francis is visiting Edmonton, Canada where he plans to apologize to the Indigenous groups in Canada for the alleged role of the Catholic Church in relation to the abuse of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. Described as a “penitential pilgrimage,” the Pope will meet with Canadian Indigenous groups to discuss the abuse of children and the attempted obliteration of the cultural values of Indigenous people by the residential schools. A number of residential schools where the abuse took place were operated by the Catholic Church.

Apart from visiting Edmonton, the Pope’s travel plans in Canada include visiting Quebec and Iqaluit. Canadian cardinals, Cardinal Michael Czerny and Cardinal Marc Ouellet will accompany the Pope.

CNN reports:

Pope Francis departed Rome on Sunday for a week-long trip to Edmonton, Canada, where he’s set to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in the abuse of Canadian Indigenous children in residential schools.

The Vatican has called the trip a “penitential pilgrimage,” and the Pope will be welcomed in Edmonton on Sunday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada.

While in the country he will meet with Indigenous groups and address the scandal of abuse and erasure of indigenous culture in the country’s residential schools.

Indigenous leaders have long called for a papal apology for the harm inflicted for decades on
Indigenous children. Last year, hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered on the grounds of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported that more than 4,000 Indigenous children died either from neglect or abuse in residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.

In April, the Pope told Indigenous leaders at the Vatican that he feels “sorrow and shame for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you, in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.”

The Pope will also travel to Quebec and Iqaluit, capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, during the trip. Two Canadian cardinals will accompany him throughout his visit, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Cardinal Michael Czerny.

Read the full article here.

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