Pope Francis Monday issued an apology to the Indigenous community of Canada for the Catholic Church’s role in the abuse Indigenous children suffered in religious boarding schools for almost 150 years.
Beginning in the 1800s, thousands of Indigenous children were systematically taken from their homes and families and placed into residential boarding schools. These schools, some of which were operated by Catholic missionaries, sought to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children into Catholicism.
Pope Francis promised that an investigation into the actions of the Church will take place, saying:
An important part of this process will be to conduct a serious investigation into the facts of what took place in the past and to assist the survivors of the residential schools to experience healing from the traumas they suffered.
Pope Francis is currently on an Apostolic Journey to Canada set to conclude this Saturday, July 30.