News items relating to religious tolerance and information
2009-APR-15: Vatican: Pope to reach out to natives in Canada;
apology possible: Assembly Chief Phil Fontaine will lead a delegation of
Native Canadians to Rome on APR-29 for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.
Fontaine said: "This will be a historic moment for aboriginals, survivors of
residential schools, and for Canadian society." G?ald Baril, spokesperson
for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said: "We know the Pope
will produce a text in which he will express his solicitude, recognize what has
occurred and manifest regret." However, it is not known whether the Pope will
issue a formal apology for the horrendous physical and sexual abuse suffered by
Native children in Catholic-run residential schools.
Fontaine said: "The
relationship between the First Nations of Canada and the Catholic Church has
been stained by the actions of the past. This meeting with the Pope will allow
the process of reconciliation to begin."
An estimated 150,000 aboriginal children were forced into Canada's Indian
residential schools between 1920 and the 1970s. Almost three-quarters of the
schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations. The United, Anglican &
Presbyterian churches and the Federal Government have recently apologized for
their roles in the abuse. That leaves the Roman Catholic Church as the only
holdout from among the major groups responsible for the abuse.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Laura-Julie Perreault, "Pope will reach out to natives in Canada; Plans to
express regret for abuses in schools," La Presse, 2009-APR-15, at:
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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-APR-20
Latest update: 2009-APR-20
Compiler: B.A. Robinson