Sunday, August 7

The Pope apologizes “for the evil that so many Christians did to the indigenous people”

Pope Francis has apologized this Monday “for the evil that so many Christians did to the indigenous people” during colonization and for the “cooperation” and “indifference” of the Catholic Church, during his visit to the town of Maskwacis, where he was one of the largest boarding schools in which the Canadian State organized the processes of “assimilation” of the children of the original peoples.

“To tell you, with all my heart, that I am deeply hurt: I apologize for the way in which, unfortunately, many Christians adopted the colonialist mentality of the powers that oppressed indigenous peoples,” Francis said, seated among the representatives of the heads of indigenous peoples and before more than 2,000 people, including many victims of these boarding schools.

The pontiff traveled to Canada following the invitation of the native peoples to apologize for the abuses perpetrated in the boarding schools managed, many of them, by the Catholic Church and where nearly 150,000 children were torn from their families, while it has been estimated that more than 4,000 died from abuse and disease. Most buried in mass graves without any identification.

“I come to your native lands to tell you personally that I am hurt, to implore God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to show you my closeness, to pray with you and for you,” Francis said in Spanish, a petition that the indigenous greeted with applause. He also hoped that his presence would serve to “work together, so that the sufferings of the past give way to a future of justice, healing and reconciliation”, before adding that this visit is not a point of arrival but of departure for this process.

The pope, who prayed in the cemetery where many of the indigenous children who died at the Ermineskin school are buried, explained that “it is necessary to remember how the policies of assimilation and disengagement, which also included the system of residential schools, were disastrous for the people of these lands. “They ended up systematically marginalizing indigenous peoples,” he acknowledged, describing how “through the residential school system, their languages ​​and cultures were denigrated and suppressed; the children suffered physical and verbal, psychological and spiritual abuse; they were taken from their homes when they were little and this indelibly marked the relationship between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren.”

And so in this place, which in the Cree language means “bear hill”, the pope, as he did in the Vatican when the representatives of the indigenous peoples met at the end of March, renewed his “request for forgiveness”. “To tell you, with all my heart, that I am deeply hurt: I apologize for the way in which, unfortunately, many Christians adopted the colonialist mentality of the powers that oppressed indigenous peoples,” he said to applause.

And he also apologized, “in particular, for the way in which many members of the Church and religious communities cooperated, also through indifference, in those projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation of the governments of the time, who ended up in the residential school system.” “I would like to repeat with shame and clarity: I humbly ask forgiveness for the evil that so many Christians committed against indigenous peoples,” he insisted. Echoing some of the petitions of the indigenous people to the Catholic Church, the pope assured that in this process of reconciliation it will be necessary “a serious search for the truth about the past and help the survivors of the residential schools to carry out healing processes.” of the traumas suffered.

The representatives of the first nations, the metis and the unit have asked the Catholic Church that those responsible for the schools can be tried, that the archives be opened to investigate, as well as that some pieces of art be returned to them. They belonged to them and are in the Vatican Museums.

The pontiff also apologized for not being able to visit other schools such as the one in Kamloops, where the rest of more than a hundred children were found last year, but assured that he knows “the suffering, the traumas and the challenges of indigenous peoples. in all regions of this country.



www.eldiario.es

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.