Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Winnipeg Ideal Spot for Papal Apology

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Winnipeg Ideal Spot for Papal Apology

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Winnipeg ideal spot for papal apology


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published June 2:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has opened the door. Now it's up to Pope Francis to enter.

During a 42-minute private audience last Monday, Mr. Trudeau invited the Pope to issue a historic papal apology for the role the Roman Catholic Church played in the abuse of children in residential schools.

The prime minister also invited the Pope to visit Canada, which is where, it's to be hoped, any apology would be delivered.

Following the meeting, the Vatican issued a statement saying the Pope will consider the requests, but did not mention a possible papal apology or when the Pope might visit Canada.

The time for considering is over. It's time for Pope Francis to deliver a forthright apology to indigenous survivors for the sexual, mental and physical abuse they suffered at church-run schools.

For almost a century, the schools robbed aboriginal children of their language, culture and the care of their families. About 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and grew up in environments which, initially, sought to "bleed the Indian out of them," to assimilate them.

The majority of residential schools were run by Roman Catholics. The Anglican, Presbyterian and United churches, which also ran residential schools, have already apologized to survivors.

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued a recommendation calling for a papal apology to survivors, many of whom say one is needed before reconciliation with the church can begin. The commission suggested the apology should be similar to one Benedict XVI delivered in Ireland in 2010 to victims of abuse by the church.

"Surely, he (the Pope) could find it in his heart to come here and apologize," Eugene Arcand, a Saskatchewan man who has held a number of national positions representing survivors, told the CBC. …

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