Pope Francis left Edmonton on Wednesday (7/27) after completing the first part of his visit to Canada. The next stop was Quebec, about an hour’s flight from Edmonton.
In Edmonton, the Pope issued a historic apology for the misdeeds of the Catholic Church in the treatment of Indigenous or tribal children for nearly a century in boarding schools.
The pope, who has difficulty walking due to knee problems, spends most of his time in the province of Alberta. In a wheelchair, he connects the events. At the airport, he boarded the plane using the ambulatory.
The Pope will meet with the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, on Wednesday; and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Quebec.
Meetings with government officials are usually first on the agenda of pope trips abroad. But in Canada, the pope avoided a trip as per protocol and opted to travel to Maskwacis – a Cree word meaning “bear hill” – to meet with Métis and Inuit, who are First Nations, to express his excuses.
More than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend Christian schools from the mid-19th century to the 1970s, in an organized effort to isolate them from the influence of their culture and homeland, convert them to Christianity and assimilate them into society in general in the form of “cultural genocide”. [em/jm]
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