Pope’s Canada Visit Highlights Complex Relationship Between Catholicism and Indigenous Cultures

EDMONTON, Alberta—Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, which he has described as a penitential pilgrimage, took a more celebratory turn on Tuesday when he presided at Mass in an Edmonton stadium before taking part in a traditional lakeside ceremony with indigenous Catholics.

Although organizers of the papal visit and the pope himself have made it clear that its purpose is to apologize for Catholics’ role in what Francis called government-sponsored “projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation,” his public appearances on his second full day in the country will highlight a more harmonious legacy of the church’s relationship with indigenous Canadians.

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