Ottawa, Pope Francis has publicly apologized to the local Aborigines for the misdeeds committed by the churches during his visit to Canada. On the very first day of the visit, he spoke openly about the atrocities committed in residential schools run by the church.
A petition for pardon by the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics was applauded by a crowd of First Nations, Métis and Inuit tribesmen in Maskawasis, western Alberta province.
Millions of local children were forcibly taken into schools run by the Catholic Churches of Canada. According to one figure, more than 1 lakh 50 thousand children were forcibly taken away from their homes under the policy of making Christians. In Canada it is called cultural genocide.
“Forgive me, I beg your pardon”
The 85-year-old Pope apologized to the local tribesmen in his address. “I humbly apologize for the atrocities committed by Christians against Aboriginal people,” he said, citing “cultural destruction” and the “physical, verbal, psychological and spiritual abuse” of children over the decades.
He formally acknowledged that many people in the church were involved in this atrocity. The Pope had come to the Canadian tribal region of Maskawasis where the disputed school existed. This school was closed in 1975.
Let us tell you that from the year 1800 to 1990, the government of Canada sent about 150,000 children to 139 residential schools run by the church. During this time, children were completely separated from their language, culture and family.
Thousands of children had died
Thousands of children died in atrocities against Aboriginal children in church schools. Many children were also sexually abused.
During the Pope’s program, people carried a 50-meter-tall banner in which the names of more than 4,000 children who were killed were recorded.
FIRST PUBLISHED : July 26, 2022, 06:44 IST