Pope Francis expresses 'shame and sorrow' for residential schools in Quebec speech
Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed shame and sorrow for the role Catholic institutions played in the "deplorable" residential school system, promising the church would help promote the Indigenous cultures the schools tried to erase.
Speaking at Quebec City's historic Citadelle, Francis asked forgiveness for the harm done by the policies of assimilation carried out in the schools.
"In that deplorable system, promoted by the governmental authorities of the time, which separated many children from their families, different local Catholic institutions had a part," Francis said.
"For this reason, I express my deep shame and sorrow, and, together with the bishops of this country, I renew my request for forgiveness for the wrong done by so many Christians to the Indigenous Peoples."
It is the second papal apology on Canadian soil for Francis, who is midway through a six-day tour he has described as a "pilgrimage of penance." On Monday, he begged forgiveness for the "evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous Peoples," during a speech in Maskwacis, Alta.
But neither the apology on Monday nor the plea for forgiveness in Quebec City Wednesday directly mentioned the sexual abuse that Indigenous children suffered in residential schools. Earlier in the day, in an interview with The Canadian Press, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said that omission was part of the "gaps" in Pope Francis's apology in Alberta, which the minister said can't be ignored.
In his remarks introducing the Pope in Quebec City, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted to fill in part of that gap.
He said Indigenous Peoples have been for years calling on the Pope to apologize to survivors, their children and grandchildren, and to First Nations communities.
"Apologies for the role that the Roman Catholic Church, as an institution, played in the mistreatment on the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse that Indigenous children suffered in residential schools run by the church," Trudeau said.
The Pope left Edmonton on Wednesday morning and arrived mid-afternoon in Quebec City, travelling to the Citadelle of Quebec for private meetings with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Trudeau.
In his speech, Francis said his time in Canada has left him with a "firm desire" to move forward on reconciliation and to help heal the deep wounds of the past.
In an address delivered in Spanish and translated into several languages, he said the church is committed to responding in a "fitting way" to the appeals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which examined the abuse that took place in residential schools and published recommendations to address it.
Pope Francis accompanied by Governor-General Mary Simon, right, arrives at the Citadelle de Quebec, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Quebec City, Quebec City, Quebec. Pope Francis is on a "penitential" six-day visit to Canada to beg forgiveness from survivors of the country's residential schools, where Catholic missionaries contributed to the "cultural genocide" of generations of Indigenous children by trying to stamp out their languages, cultures and traditions. (AP Photo/John Locher)
He added that the church was committed to promoting Indigenous culture through "specific and appropriate forms of spiritual accompaniment that include attention to their cultural traditions, customs, languages and educational processes" in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Before his address, the pontiff was presented with a wild turkey feather and sweetgrass by a Huron-Wendat elder, Raymond Gros-Louis.
Simon, speaking just ahead of the pontiff, said the Pope's visit was an important step toward further dialogue and actions that will lead to real reconciliation.
"Indeed, we look forward to hearing more of the church's future actions to continue this essential work," said Canada's first Indigenous Governor General, who delivered her speech in English, French and Inuktitut.
The atmosphere was more festive later at the Plains of Abraham, where crowds cheered and chanted, "Thank you," as Francis did a drive-by tour in his popemobile. Francis, accompanied by the archbishop of Quebec, smiled and waved from the back of a white Jeep and occasionally kissed babies who were passed over the barricades and dangled into the vehicle by security staff.
A second apology from the Pope had been a demand from some Indigenous leaders in Quebec, who said they deserved to hear the pontiff ask forgiveness on their home soil.
Those who gathered the Plains of Abraham ahead of Francis's speech, however, expressed mixed opinions on whether another apology would satisfy them.
There was a heavy police presence on the grounds, as concerts and other artistic performances took place throughout the afternoon. While the site's capacity is over 100,000 people, the crowd that had gathered just over an hour before the Pope's scheduled arrival was only a fraction of that number.
'SMALL STEP' IN JOURNEY OF HEALING
For residential school survivor Omer St-Onge, the Pope's visit represents a "small step" in a journey of healing. But St-Onge, who comes from the Innu community of Uashat-Maliotenam, on Quebec's north shore, said before the Pope's address that he was hoping for more than just an apology.
"It's time for the Pope to decide to give us back artifacts, objects that were taken from us that are all at the Vatican and in churches, documents about young people who died," said St-Onge, whose birth name is Uapan Ushekatok.
Fabien Jaubert, also from Uashat-Maliotenam, said he had come to honour the memories of residential school survivors, including his grandmother and aunts.
"I'm expecting an apology from the Pope," he said in an interview on the Plains of Abraham ahead of the pontiff's arrival. "I would like to hear him make one on behalf of the church, instead of just certain actors."
Among those present at the site was a group of Indigenous marchers who walked 275 kilometres from the site of the former Pointe-Bleue residential school in the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh in Quebec's Saguenay region. The group, who started walking last Thursday, were greeted with cheers as they arrived onstage.
The Pointe-Bleue institution was the last of the federally funded, church-run schools to close in Quebec, in 1991. Chantal Niquay, who attended the school, described the march as "liberating" and said it was helping her heal from the scars of the past.
"I had my children young and I wasn't totally there for them, but today I understand why. We give each other so much love," the 43-year-old woman said.
Mike Parayaoan of Montreal, who lined up with 15 family members at 8 a.m., was among the first on-site. He said that while there were "mixed emotions" surrounding the visit, his main feeling was one of excitement.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime event that me and my family could attempt to see the Pope," he said.
After visiting the Plains of Abraham, the Pope headed to the residence of the archbishop of Quebec, where he plans to stay during his time in the province.
On Thursday, Francis is to hold a mass at the shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, east of the city, then attend vespers with church officials at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec.
On Friday, he is to make a brief stop in Iqaluit before heading home to Vatican City.
With files from The Canadian Press' Frederic Lacroix-Couture in Quebec City and Morgan Lowrie in Montreal
-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2022.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast on orders from President Joe Biden, after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America, becoming the latest flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The federal defence Minister says Canada 'unequivocally supports' the United States government's decision to shoot down a high-altitude surveillance balloon that was suspected of spying for China, noting the balloon violated Canadian airspace.
Canadians will continue to bundle up in the country's east this weekend as a recent bout of extreme cold persists in much of Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. CTVNews.ca looks at the signs and symptoms for frostbite and hypothermia to watch for if exposed to extreme cold.
China's foreign ministry said on Sunday that it expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposition towards the United States' use of force to attack its airship.
An early study has shown keeping your gums and teeth healthy may have added benefits for your brain health.
The federal government says it wants the RCMP to ban the use of two crowd-control tools that forces across the country say they have in their arsenals: sponge rounds and CS gas.
A cold snap that triggered Environment Canada alerts involving eight provinces and territories extended into a second day on Saturday, shattering several past temperature records and leaving thousands of customers in Atlantic Canada without power.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Saturday the league's 2024 showcase will be played in Toronto for the ninth time.
The massive white orb drifting across U.S. airspace has triggered a diplomatic maelstrom and is blowing up on social media. A look at what's known about the balloon crossing the U.S. and what isn't.
Metrolinx begins to clear trees at Osgoode Hall, agrees to 'pause work' ahead of hearing on their removal
A spokesperson for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) says Metrolinx began cutting down historic trees at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Saturday before the Ontario Superior Court could hear an injunction to prevent their clearing.
Marit Stiles officially became the new leader of the Ontario NDP on Saturday after a majority of party members voted in favour of the lone candidate.
Police in Durham Region are investigating after two people were found dead in Bowmanville.
Extreme cold warnings were in effect for the Maritimes Saturday, with feel-like temperatures hitting between -40C and -50C.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is reassuring his party faithful that he still intends to fix the province's health-care system at whatever cost it takes.
A new medical school at the University of Prince Edward Island is set to start training its first class in fall 2024. But the nagging question is, with ongoing doctor shortages on the island, who’s going to teach?
The opening celebration of Black History Month was held at the Museum London on Saturday afternoon.
Two children have been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a three-vehicle crash Saturday morning.
London police seized nine handguns, cash and drugs during the arrest of a wanted man Thursday afternoon.
The suspect in an assault in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island Thursday is still at large and police are seeking witnesses or video footage in hopes of finding him.
W5 Investigates | Daniel Jolivet insists he's not a murderer and says he has proof
Convicted murderer Daniel Jolivet, in prison for the past 30 years, has maintained his innocence since the day he was arrested. W5 reviews the evidence he painstakingly assembled while behind bars. W5's documentary 'Buried Evidence' airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV.
The owner of Radical Gardens, a restaurant in Timmins said she's experienced nineteen robberies over the last eight years; with the most recent one taking place in the early morning hours Friday.
Three people are in stable condition in hospital after a two-storey Calgary townhouse caught fire on Saturday morning.
Calgary police have identified a man they believe is connected to the sexual assault of a show home employee in Alpine Park.
Chinese New Year celebrations continued in Calgary's Chinatown district Friday night.
Waterloo regional police are investigating a car theft they say happened while the owner was vacuuming out their vehicle.
One person has been airlifted from the scene of a serious crash in North Perth.
Demonstrators in Cambridge are hoping greenbelt and conservation lands can be protected from new home development.
B.C.'s real estate services regulator has suspended a woman from the industry for 30 days and imposed $50,000 in penalties for her misconduct in managing a rental agreement for a client.
In the past week, Vancouver police have seen a surge in reports about the so-called "bail money" or "grandchild" scam that targets seniors.
Current and former police officers are repeating their calls for change after a 17-year-old boy was shot dead in Burnaby this week.
Musicians and live music supporters are mourning the loss of another Edmonton concert venue.
A 45-year-old man was killed in a 'confrontation' with RCMP officers responding to a firearms complaint Saturday morning at a northeast Alberta First Nation.
The United Conservative Party MLA representing the city of Grande Prairie announced she would not run for re-election in 2023.
“I'm really excited to get in there tonight and prove myself,” said Jayden Trudell who is in Brampton trying to become a national boxing champion.
A local stand-up comedian is planning to premier a documentary this year that will put Windsor’s comedy community centre stage.
Windsor police are renewing calls for anyone who may know the whereabouts of a 19-year-old woman who has been missing for nearly a month.
A group who fled to Canada due to the war in Ukraine are showing their appreciation by donating the gift of life at Canadian Blood Services in Regina.
Above seasonal temperatures with snow squalls did not slow down the first day of Regina's Frost Festival.
A man is facing an assault charge after striking another man with a glass object early Saturday morning.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says more than a dozen groups have filed applications to buy the Ottawa Senators, with a preliminary cut of the potential bidders expected later this month when the initial bids are submitted.
Black smoke was seen coming from the 22nd floor of Les Suites Hotel in downtown Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
Ottawa firefighters responded to three fires overnight and a fourth late in the morning as extreme cold gripped the capital.
'100 per cent Filipino products': Saskatoon Filipino community hosts first trade show for a good cause
The Studio at Midtown Mall was host to the first edition of the Proudly Pinoy Filipino Trade Show this weekend.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
Saskatoon’s police chief, Troy Cooper, participated in a polar plunge as a fundraiser for Special Olympics Saskatchewan.