Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday July 26, 2022
Pope Francis apologizes for forced assimilation of Indigenous children at residential schools
The first day of Pope Francis’s “penitential pilgrimage” began with a heartfelt apology delivered at the site of one of Canada’s largest residential schools and ended eight hours later with blessings and songs at an intimate service in the only designated Indigenous church in Canada.
In a morning event in a First Nation community in central Alberta, Pope Francis apologized for members of the Catholic Church who co-operated with Canada’s “devastating” policy of Indigenous residential schools.
He said the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed their families and marginalized generations in ways still being felt today.
“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Francis told thousands of Indigenous people, including many survivors, who converged on Maskwacis, Alta., about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton.