Pope Francis shocked by Canada school findings

Photo: AP Pope Francis

Pope Francis said he was shocked and pained by latest discoveries related to the death of pupils from a school in Canada that was run by the Catholic Church. However Francis expressed grief but stopped shortly to delivering direct apology on behalf of the Church, Reuters reported. Earlier the remains of 215 children were found buried on the ground of local Catholic school. The Canada public opinion was strongly directed to expectation of formal apology.

Pope Francis called for respect of the rights and culture of native peoples. He urged Canadian political and Catholic religious leaders to "cooperate with determination" to shed light on the finding and to seek reconciliation and healing. Francis said he felt close to "the Canadian people, who have been traumatized by the shocking news".

The Catholic Church had a key role in the residential schools, which operated between 1831 and 1996 and were run by a number of Christian denominations on behalf of the government. The discovery last month of the remains of the children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978, has reopened old wounds and is fuelling outrage in Canada about the lack of information and accountability. The residential school system forcibly separated about 150,000 children from their homes. Many were subjected to abuse, rape and malnutrition in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called "cultural genocide". Francis spoke two days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Catholic Church must take responsibility for its role in running many of the schools.

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