Pope apologizes to Canadian Aboriginal people on behalf of Catholic Church


Joseph Zuloaga '23

Vatican City: Earlier this year, Pope Francis officially apologized on behalf of the Catholic Church for its treatment of Aboriginal people in Canada at residential schools they operated in the country for over a 150 year period.

Alex Robinson '23, Religion Editor

Up until 1969, the Catholic church ran children’s schools across Canada. There, indigenous children were forced to assimilate to Catholic practices. Current data from Global News has unveiled the acts of the Church’s time in Canada. 

Not only were children’s lives taken, but the culture of the Aboriginal people as well. The cultural and physical damage also damaged the Church’s reputation. In April, Global News aired an apology from Pope Francis for the Catholic Church’s actions towards indigenous children in Canada. 

Joshua Keeney, religious teacher, said, “Events like these from our past cause us, the Church, to look internally and reflect on how we can do better and live more Christ centered lives. This should cause the Church globally to reflect on evils done in their own local area and find ways to restore broken relationships caused by our actions.”

Edward Ramos ’23 said, “But I wonder what actions he will follow up with… I believe he did not want the situation to be blown out of proportion therefore he toned it down by… apologizing instead of recounting the actions… which hurt indigenous people.” 

The Pope expressed his deepest apologies, asking for forgiveness from the indigenous community. As quoted, the Pope wishes to “work together, so that the sufferings of the past can lead to a future of justice, healing and reconciliation.” The Pope even donned a headdress given to him by leaders of the community.

Despite the Pope’s gesture, not all of the community was satisfied with his condolences. Some members of the community critiqued his sincerity.

In response, Joe Frias, religious teacher, said, “Being explicit in recalling the abuses can be triggering…When I was a chaplain in a hospital making patient visits to victims of abuse I was told never to ask them about their past… to avoid surfacing their trauma then.”

While some critique the Pope in recent events, many also look to the future to see what he will do for indigenous peoples and other communities the Catholic church may have discriminated against in times past, and see this as a step in the right direction, a direction of healing.