Pope expresses sorrow for suffering of Canadian aboriginal students

Sarah Delaney CNS 04/30/2009 00:59
A man and child with a group from Canada smile during the weekly general audience at the Vatican April 29. Members of Canada's Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Catholic officials later met with Pope Benedict XVI regarding the tragic legacy of Indian residential schools, many of which were run by Catholic dioceses and orders. (CNS/Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)

A man and child with a group from Canada smile during the weekly general audience at the Vatican April 29. Members of Canada's Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Catholic officials later met with Pope Benedict XVI regarding the tragic legacy of Indian residential schools, many of which were run by Catholic dioceses and orders. (CNS/Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a step toward reconciling a long-standing historical injustice, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his sorrow for the suffering of Canadian aboriginal children over decades in church-run residential schools.



The pope met at the Vatican April 29 with a delegation of native Canadians representing those who had suffered forced acculturation and in some cases physical and sexual abuse at the government schools, many run by Catholics, and listened to their grievances.

He expressed his "sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the church and offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity," a Vatican statement said after the meeting, which followed the regular weekly papal audience.

"His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society. He prayed that all those affected would experience healing, and he encouraged First Nations peoples to continue to move forward with renewed hope," the Vatican statement said.

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