In spreading the Gospel to new peoples and cultures over the years, the Church has often to much and great good for native and indigenous peoples. Not only did they receive the good news of Christ and His Gospel, but also many times, the Church (especially priests, nuns, and missionaries), would also fight for the protection and respect of the dignity of the indigenous people, often standing up for the indigenous peoples against other colonial settlers.
But unfortunately, there have also been some times of institutional failure, where institutions of the Catholic Church have not always respected the dignity of indigenous peoples.
Such a thing, it seems had occurred in some of the Catholic “residential schools” in Canada. That there were some schools that took children into their residence, and, not only tried to erase their culture, but unfortunately also there was maltreatment and abuse of various forms of some of the children.
Thus, as some of you may have read in the news, that Pope Francis has been in Canada this past week. Specifically to be there to apologize for any role the Church has had in the mistreatment of native and indigenous peoples there, and thus to bring healing and reconciliation.
On July 17, in his weekly “Angelus” message, here is what he said about his going to Canada:
“Next Sunday, God willing, I will leave for Canada; therefore I would now like to address all the inhabitants of that country. Dear brothers and sisters of Canada, as you know, I will come among you above all in the name of Jesus to meet and embrace the indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed native communities in various ways. For this reason, I recently received some groups in the Vatican, representatives of indigenous peoples, to whom I expressed my sorrow and solidarity for the harm they have suffered. And now I am about to embark on a penitential pilgrimage, which I hope, with God’s grace, will contribute to the journey of healing and reconciliation already undertaken. I thank you in advance for all the work of preparation and for the welcome you will give me. Thank you all! And I ask you to please accompany me with prayer.”
Please pray that the Pope’s journey will leave an impact on indigenous peoples of Canada, that will bring Christ’s healing and peace.
PS: If you would like to read Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus Message each week, they can be found here: