Pope Francis’s Journey begins here in Canada, not at the Vatican in Italy

ope Francis leads the Mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Vatican December 24, 2020. Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS
Pope Francis - Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS

First Nation Leader Calls for Pope Francis to Come and Apologize in Canada

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (LTFN) Chief Dolleen Logan today demanded of the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, to visit the residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan where the remains of hundreds of children have been found in unmarked graves. Chief Logan said the only way for healing to begin is to have the head of the Catholic Church visit the sites of these crimes and apologize directly to the families of the kids who never made it home. In recent weeks, the remains of hundreds of children have been found at the sites of two residential schools in BC and one in Saskatchewan. Indigenous leaders say more discoveries of children who died while in the care of staff at Catholic-Church-run and Crown-sanctioned residential schools are expected.

Chief Logan stated, “I learned last week that a group of Canadian Indigenous leaders is scheduled to travel to meet with the Pope at the Vatican in December to seek an apology for the deaths and ill-treatment of indigenous children while in the care of staff at Catholic residential schools. I was incensed! Here we are in 2021 having a chosen few visit the leader of Catholic Church who has shown no intent of accepting responsibility for what happened to indigenous kids at Catholic residential schools! Why is it we still capitulate to the Pope?”

Chief Logan added, “If Pope Francis were really serious about reconciling with Indigenous people in Canada, his first step would be to travel here as soon as possible and visit the unmarked graves in BC and Saskatchewan. He would meet with the families of the kids who never made it home, who never got to chase their dreams and he would apologize to each family. He would then meet with indigenous leaders to discuss ‘next steps’ in the investigation of these crime scenes and provide compensation for all costs associated with the ongoing investigations.”

Chief Logan concluded, “If he were serious about reconciling with Canada’s indigenous people, he would accept responsibility for what the Roman Catholic Church did while operating residential schools and show true remorse, not just talk about healing. He would then meet with the Prime Minister and the Queen of England as the Monarchy and Canada are as guilty in allowing the deaths and abuse to occur at church run schools as the Catholic Church is. The Monarchy and Canada allowed and continued to allow this to happen until the last residential school closed in 1996. The time for talk is done! It is time for action from the leaders of all parties involved in these crimes. They need to own up to the atrocities, accept responsibility and then work with indigenous leaders and communities to start to mend the wrong they have done. If the Pope is genuinely concerned about the lives of indigenous children and families, then he can show it by visiting Canada and begin the long journey to right the wrongs of the past. That journey begins here in Canada, not at the Vatican in Italy.”

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