Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, met with Pope Francis on Monday as a part of his trip to Italy for the G7 summit.
There, Trudeau asked Pope Francis to apologize for the role in the Catholic Church in the Canadian school system in which children from an indigenous background were abused for decades.
These schools were set up in the 1880’s and were meant to take children from the families so that they would eventually assimilate them back into mainstreat Canadian society. The last one finally closed in 1996.
Trudea feels that his request is justified in order for Canadians to feel a sense of true reconciliation when it comes to their views towards the indigineous people.
There were approximately 15,000 aboriginal childrent that were removed from their family by force, only to live in church-run boarding schools. Once they got there, the were not allowed to practice their own culture or speak their own language.
An apology would help the healing process for the survivors of these schools.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called for a papal apology, as part of the healing process for survivors. Although the Vatican has not commented on Mr Trudeau’s request, it confirmed the talk was “cordial” and lasted about 36 minutes. It said the conversation “focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues” but did not mention an apology directly. In its report, the commission recommended the Catholic Church issue a formal apology for its part in the residential school system. Similar apologies have been issued by Anglican, Presbyterian and United Churches, who along with the Catholic Church helped run these schools as joint ventures with the Canadian government. In 2008, former prime minister Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of Canadians, calling it “a sad chapter in our history”.