Pope Francis has formally apologized for the Catholic church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.

This came after the pope met with Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Metis groups at the Vatican in Rome this week.

The pontiff said he was “deeply grieved” upon hearing the stories from Canadian delegates, adding that he felt “sorrow and shame” for the roles Catholics played, particularly Catholic educators, in harming and abusing Indigenous people.

“I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry,” Pope Francis said on Friday morning.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, who led the Inuit delegation, said that the apology was “long overdue,” and that “individual survivors and inter-generational survivors all will have very different feelings and perspectives about today.

“(It was) a heartfelt expression from the church that was delivered by Pope Francis in an empathetic and caring way,” said Obed. “There is much more to do, and so an apology is part of a much larger picture.”

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated President Aluki Kotierk asked Inuit to “have more empathy today.”

“There will be many mixed, confusing emotions and I urge everyone to not only be gentle on oneselves, to be gentle with our fellow Inuit,” said Kotierk. “We cannot understand the horrific experiences our fellow Inuit experienced.”

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok also released a statement regarding Pope Francis’s apology, saying he was “encouraged” by it.

“No words can erase the impact of the abuse endured by Inuit families, especially the children who were forcefully removed from parents and communities to be subjected to mistreatment and abuse,” Akeeagok said.

This apology is a “significant step on the long road” that is reconciliation, but he added that those who abused children must face justice.

“There is much more to do until we can achieve true healing, including ensuring surviving members of the Church who preyed on children have a day in court,” the premier said.

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  1. I Think I Say this On Behalf of the Majority of Canadians and For the Protection of Everyone in this Country; Apologies are Nice, but We Are All Here for a Reason. I Feel that it is Best that We Accept the Past and The Future that We have and Are Struggling to Establish. Some Connections and Relationships are Better Off to Be Ended and Forgotten About; Love Binds and Hatred Bonds; this is Life and it Always Will Be.

    There are Many People in this Country that Are Victims of Harsh Realities in Europe; Inviting in Past Enemies with Intent Towards a Reconciliation that is Motivated By Revenge Isn’t Going to Benefit Anyone.

    I Am Personally Scania Slavic Norse Pagan; Old Religion; My People are Victims of a Harsh Reality in the Past Too. We Are Here to Live Our Lives; Not Keep Repeating History.

    I Personally Don’t Want Religious Leaders Visiting the Country; They are Not Welcome. This Country Was Meant to Be a Place for People to Go to Be Okay; a Place to Get Away. So, Let it Happen and Leave the Past in the Past.

    – Lady Dòchas Dalriada
    Canadian Commonwealth

    The Canadian Ethical Royal Sovereign Matriarchal House of a’ Onnust est. 2019

  2. I Can Honestly Express My Concern and Discomfort in Regards to this Situation; I Understand the Need to Express it; but there is an Old Omen about a Fool that Wanted Attention; they Played Along with Him and Cast Him into a Pit of Ridicule Where He Became a Prisoner.

    This Will Just Happen Again and Again; Push it Away. This Interest in Jeopardizing A Beautiful Country that We All Have Built and Established on the Same Values; to Create a Heaven to Share and Enjoy One Another Within. Just Like Animals they Migrate; Solidarity is Needed, Unity Between All Canadians at This Point.

    So, I Am Creating a Canadian Commonwealth; Everyone is Going to Be Included in it and Recognized as CANADIANS! Not European Canadians; JUST CANADIAN. And Americans will be Recognized as AMERICANS. Ie: The Canadian House of ***’ The American House of *** Since you All Use European Names. Etc.

    And Were Going to Get On With it and Have Fun Again. I Want to Do Something Else.

    These Religious Leaders; They’re Dangerous People. Don’t Welcome this Here; that is Why We Built this Place.

    -Lady Dòchas Dalriada; The Canadian Ethical Royal Sovereign Matriarchal House of a’ Onnust est 2019.

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