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Canada's Search for a Papal Apology

What would the word 'sorry' from Pope Francis mean to Canada's indigenous people? He has apologised to other victims of abuse so why not Canadians?

This is a story of a community trying to heal, but a warning; there are descriptions of abuse in this programme that may be upsetting.

Pope Francis is refusing to bow to pressure to apologise to Canada's indigenous people for the Catholic church's abuse of thousands of children

For more than 100 years First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to these church-run boarding schools. Many were beaten, starved and sexually abused. They were forbidden from speaking their native languages and had their culture stripped from them. Thousands died, far away from their families.

Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recommended that the Pope come to Canada to make an apology - similar to the one made to Irish victims of abuse. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also asked the Pope to do so. But Francis has simply said that he cannot 'personally respond'.

Why won't Pope Francis make the same apology to Canada's indigenous people that has been made to other victims? And what would an apology from the Catholic Church mean to indigenous people of faith?

Produced and Presented by Jennifer Chevalier for BBC World Service

Photo: Cross Lake School. Credit: Library and Archives Canada - by permission

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27 minutes

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Sun 20 May 2018 22:32GMT