Pope Stops Short of Apology for Church’s Role in Deaths of Indigenous Children in Canada

Photo: courtesy of Democracy Now!

At the Vatican, Pope Francis on Sunday acknowledged the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia — which was run by the Catholic Church until 1969 — but stopped short of offering the formal apology that Indigenous advocates had demanded.

Pope Francis: “I join the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my closeness to the Canadian people traumatized by the shocking news. The sad discovery further raises awareness of the pains and sufferings of the past.”

The school opened in 1890 and was used to house Indigenous children forcibly separated from their families by the Canadian government. The school officially closed in 1970.

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