Church school abuses: Pope ‘begs forgiveness’ in Canada
Pope Francis apologized on Monday to Canada's native people on their land for the Church's role in schools where indigenous children were abused, calling their forced cultural assimilation a "deplorable evil" and "disastrous error."
"With shame and unambiguously, I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples," said Francis.
The address to the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people was the first apology on Canadian soil by the pope as a part of tour to heal deep wounds that rose to the fore after the discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools last year.
Between 1881 and 1996 more than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools. Many children were starved, beaten for speaking their native languages, and sexually abused in a system that Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide." Most of the schools were run for the government by Roman Catholic religious orders of priests and nuns.