01 Junio 2017 10:05
During the 19th century, 30% of aboriginal children were stripped of their language and culture by the Catholic church
Justin Trudeau has invited the pope to Canada with a single mission in mind: for the pontiff to publicly apologise for the abuse suffered by indigenous children at the hands of the missionaries of the Catholic church.
The controversy dates back to the 19th century, when around 30% of indigenous children, around 150,000 in total, were forced to attend what were known as ‘residential schools’, in an attempt to strip them of their language and culture. For over a century, these schools were government-financed, but most were managed by the Catholic church, according to a report published by Reuters.
The Vatican is yet to respond to Trudeau’s concerns, nor do we know if the pope has even considered the invitation. The Canadian leader, for his part, told the press that, in private talks with the Pope, he had highlighted how important it was for Canadians, ‘to move forward on real reconciliation with the indigenous peoples.’ The pope reminded him that he had dedicated his entire life to supporting marginalised people in the world, fighting for them.
In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued a report which described the practices carried out in the ‘residential schools’ as ‘cultural genocide’. Children, mainly from the Inuit and Metis communities, were kept away from their parents, and most of them were physically or sexually abused.
During the meeting they didn’t only speak about the Catholic church in Canada. They also went over the G7 meeting in Taormina and devoted time to discussing climate change and terrorism.
The pope gave Trudeau his book, which deals with climate change, 'Laudato Si' (Praise be to you) as he had done with President Donald Trump. Unlike on that occasion, however, Trudeau did share the pope’s notion that humans are responsible for protecting the environment.