Aboriginal residential schools: Trudeau disappointed by the refusal of the pope to apologize

News 28 March, 2018
  • AFP

    QMI agency

    Wednesday, 28 march 2018 11:58

    Wednesday, march 28, 2018 12:01

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    OTTAWA-The prime minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his disappointment on Wednesday, the day after the refusal of pope Francis to offer an apology to the survivors of aboriginal residential schools in Canada.

    “I am very disappointed with the decision of the catholic Church to not offer an apology for the residential schools. I think it is an important element for healing and reconciliation in the country,” said the chief to his arrival in the liberal caucus.

    During his trip to the Vatican last year, Mr. Trudeau had personally asked pope Francis to make a formal apology to the survivors.

    The pope closes the door

    It was one of the recommendations included in the final report of the truth and reconciliation Commission, filed in 2015. This request was based on excuses similar made in 2010 by the catholic Church to Irish victims of sexual abuse by religious.

    However, in a letter addressed to the indigenous peoples, on Tuesday evening, the Conference of catholic bishops of Canada (CECC) has confirmed that the apology from the pope would not.

    “Having carefully considered the request and have discussed it thoroughly with the bishops of Canada, he was of the opinion that it can’t respond personally”, wrote the bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the CCCB.

    He said a visit to the sovereign pontiff in Canada could be envisaged, during which he could meet aboriginal peoples.


    The new democrat Romeo saganash section, himself a survivor of residential schools, has condemned the refusal of the catholic Church on Twitter. “For a Pope that is said to be in possession of a social conscience, and his refusal to apologize for the role of his Church in the Residential schools is not acceptable,” he lamented.

    “I know that the survivors and the catholics that we have approached will continue to push for these apologies,” said the minister of Relations Crown-aboriginal, Carolyn Bennett, she also disappointed by the decision of the Church.

    The leader of the official opposition, Andrew Scheer, has advanced as an institution that has played an important role in the “chapter black” of the residential schools apology, as did the conservative government in 2008.

    Stressing the importance for the Church to recognize the wrongs of the past, the liberal mp Robert-Falcon Ouellette believes that this is only a postponement for an official apology.

    “This is not done yet, but I believe that it will be eventually. Pope Francis has justice at heart, so the desire is surely there. But the Church is a big institution and maybe she’s just not ready to apologize yet,” said the politician cry, whose father is a survivor of the residential schools.