The Pope seeks forgiveness for se*ual abuse of minors in schools in Canada

by   |  VIEW 381

The Pope seeks forgiveness for se*ual abuse of minors in schools in Canada

On Thursday, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the se*ual abuse of indigenous children in Canadian schools run by Catholic orders in that country, while the opening of this painful topic during his visit to Canada was expected by numerous victims of that system.

The Pope said this at the evening mass with priests and nuns in the cathedral in Quebec and pointed out that the church in Canada is on a new path after being "devastated by the evil committed by some of its sons and daughters"

"I think in particular of the se*ual abuse of minors and vulnerable people, scandals that require firm action and an irreversible commitment," the pope said on the penultimate day of his six-day visit to Canada.

"Together with you, I would like once more to ask forgiveness of all the victims. The pain and the shame we feel must become an occasion for conversion: never again!" It is the first time that the head of the Catholic Church has mentioned se*ual abuse in Canadian schools, where between 1870 and 1996 more than 150,000 indigenous children were brought and separated from their families.

Children were starved and physically abused for speaking their mother tongue, and many of them were se*ually abused in a system that Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide." The admission came after Pope Francis issued a historic apology on Monday in the Canadian town of Maskwacis, on the site of two former schools.

The Pope called the Church's role in these schools, as well as forced cultural assimilation, a "deplorable evil" and a "catastrophic mistake." While the pope's apology has drawn strong sentiments and praise as the first step toward reconciliation, it has also drawn criticism from victims of the system who feel it has fallen short of their expectations.

Among other things, they criticized him for not mentioning the se*ual abuse in his apology at the time.

'Deep Dismay'

Earlier on Thursday, the Pope delivered his strongest views yet on the Catholic Church's collective wrongdoing over school abuse of indigenous children.

"In confronting the scandal of evil and the Body of Christ wounded in the flesh of our indigenous brothers and sisters, we too have experienced deep dismay; we too feel the burden of failure," the pope said. "Why did all this happen? How could this happen in the community of those who follow Jesus?" At the mass held on Thursday in the cathedral, which is also the oldest Catholic shrine in North America, three-quarters of the total of 1,400 seats were allocated to victims and former students of residential schools and other natives, while the rest watched the mass on large screens in front of the cathedral.

The office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that one of the topics of the meeting between him and the Pope on Wednesday was the need for the Catholic Church to take "concrete steps to bring back indigenous handicrafts, provide access to residential school documents, as well as to talk about the doctrine of discovery and ensure justice for surviving victims”.