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Pope apologizes for ‘the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples’

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Pope Francis has issued a public apology for any the Roman Catholic Church’s “catastrophic” policies relating to indigenous public schools.

Pope Francis said that forcing Native Americans to mix in with a Christian society has caused significant damage to their culture and has marginalized several generations.

“I am deeply sorry,” Francis said, dubbing the policy a “disastrous error” that went against the values of the Gospel and said that the investigation had not yet concluded, and further healing would be essential.

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Pope Francis went onto say, per USA Today.

The official Twitter page of Pope Francis also spoke of the event. “Dear brothers and sisters of #Canada, I come among you to meet the indigenous peoples. I hope, with God’s grace, that my penitential pilgrimage might contribute to the journey of reconciliation already undertaken. Please accompany me with #prayer,” the Pope said in a Tweet.

He continued, “Dear #IndigenousPeoples of #Canada, I have come to your native lands to tell you in person of my sorrow, to implore God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to express my closeness and to pray with you and for you.”

From the 19th century until the 1970s, over 150,000 native children were mandated to attend public Christian schools. At the time, the intent of the Canadian government was to blend the native children into society by sending them to schools they considered to be superior.

The City of Ottawa has acknowledge the sexual and physical abuse that occurred at these schools and that the legacy of this is a plethora of drug and alcohol problems at Canadian reservations.

One attendee, Sandi Harper travelled to the event along with her sister in honour of her late mother who attended one of the schools. Harper said “It’s something that is needed, not only for people to hear but for the church to be accountable.”

Harper referred to the Pope’s apology as “very genuine,” and she went onto say “He recognizes this road to reconciliation is going to take time, but he is really on board with us.”

The Canadian government have paid reparations which amount to billions of dollars to indigenous communities. This is as per a settlement agreed by the government relating to 90,000 survivors.

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