The historical apology issued by the pope states that the forcible assimilation of the natives into Christian society destroyed their culture, the isolated families and marginalized generations are still felt today . Francis said, “I apologize for that.”

Pope Francis in Canada apologized Monday for a range of atrocities, including sexual misconduct with children, in residential schools of the Catholic Church. The Pope apologized to the local people, saying that these incidents of atrocities were the result of a destructive policy. He arrived in Edmonton in the province of Alberta on Sunday. He was received here by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary May Simon.

The historical apology issued by the pope states that the forcible assimilation of the natives into Christian society destroyed their culture, the isolated families and marginalized generations are still felt today . Francis said, “I apologize for that.”

Francis’ week-long “atonement pilgrimage” began in Canada to applause from survivors and indigenous community members at a former residential school south of Edmonton, Alberta province. The Pope will apologize to the victims and their families during his visit from July 24 to 30.

After arriving in Canada, Francis prayed at a burial site on the land of the four Cree (North American Native peoples who formerly lived in Canada). Francis then moved to the site of the former Erminskin Indian Residential School, which is now largely broken. Here he said, “I humbly apologize for the evil done by Christians against the indigenous people.”

His words went well beyond his previous apologies for the “reprehensible” acts of the missionaries. At the same time he took responsibility for the church’s institutional association with a “disastrous” assimilation policy, which the Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission described amounted to “cultural genocide”.

More than 1.5 lakh children were forcibly admitted
Between 1800 and 1990, more than half a million children from Native, M├ętis and Inuit communities were forcibly admitted to 139 residential Catholic Church schools across Canada. They were trained to assimilate Catholic customs. These would have been cut off from their native culture. The aim was to Christianize and assimilate them into mainstream society, which previous Canadian governments considered superior. They were not even allowed to speak their mother tongue. More than six thousand of these children were killed due to atrocities.