Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada has asked Pope Francis to apologise for the role the Catholic Church played in the decades-long abuse of aboriginal children in the schools it governed.
In the late 19th century about 150,000 children of Canada’s native people were placed in residential schools in a government attempt to strip them of their traditional cultures and ancestral languages.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said in a 2015 report that the institutions which were government-funded, were administered by Christian churches which predominantly consisted of the Roman Catholic tradition.
The tradition which kept children from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples far from their parents, amounted to ‘cultural genocide’
According to the report, many children were physically and sexually abused in the institutions.
The Canadian Prime Minister on Monday met with the pontiff at the Vatican as part of his visit to Italy for the G7 summit in Taormina over the weekend.
He told the Pope Francis to come to Canada to apologise as it was important he tenders an apology to help make genuine progress on resolution and reconciliation with the Aboriginal population in Canada.
‘I told him how important it is for Canadians to move forward on real reconciliation with the indigenous peoples and I highlighted how he could help by issuing an apology,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters after meeting Pope Francis