Pope Francis is willing to travel to Canada as part of “the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples”, the Vatican press office said yesterday. Source: CNS.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the Pope to visit the country, the press office said, although no date or time frame for the trip was mentioned.
A delegation of Indigenous leaders, accompanied by several bishops, is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in December to listen to their experiences of how they and their people have been treated by Catholics in Canada, with special attention to the impact on the Indigenous communities of Canada’s residential schools, many of which were run by Catholic religious orders or dioceses.
“Pope Francis will encounter and listen to the Indigenous participants, so as to discern how he can support our common desire to renew relationships and walk together along the path of hope in the coming years,” the bishops conference said in a statement after their September meeting.
“We pledge to work with the Holy See and our Indigenous partners on the possibility of a pastoral visit by the Pope to Canada as part of this healing journey,” the bishops said.
The statement was part of the first formal apology the bishops as a conference made to Canada’s Indigenous people.
Acknowledging the “grave abuses” perpetuated, the bishops acknowledged “the suffering experienced in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. Many Catholic religious communities and dioceses participated in this system, which led to the suppression of Indigenous languages, culture and spirituality, failing to respect the rich history, traditions and wisdom of Indigenous peoples”.
Pope may go to Canada as part of reconciliation process, Vatican says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)