Pope Francis Atones for Catholic Abuse of Indigenous Children in Canada

MASKWACIS, Canada—Pope Francis visited the site of a former residential school for indigenous Canadian children on Monday morning and repeatedly apologized for Catholics’ role in government-sponsored “projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation” that he said had devastated their communities.

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples,” the pope said, one of half a dozen ways in which he expressed sorrow or begged for pardon in the speech, which he delivered to an audience of indigenous leaders, elders and former residential school students as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon. His apologies drew applause and cheers several times during the speech.

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