Many indigenous children have been victims of violence in the Church-run boarding schools.
Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he received as a “slap in the face” the testimonies of Indigenous victims of violence in church-run residential schools during his trip to Canada last week.
The pontiff returned on Saturday from a six-day trip where he met with representatives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, to whom he asked forgiveness for what he called the evil committed in these residential schools, set up by the governments of the time, but mostly administered by the Catholic Church.
I assure you that at these meetings, especially the last one I received as a slap in the face of the pain of these people, Pope Francis said during the weekly general audience in the Vatican.
Hearing from people who have lost children, who don't know where they are was a painful time, he said.
The Pope concluded his Canadian trip Friday in Iqaluit, capital of the vast territory of Nunavut in the Arctic Archipelago, where he again asked for forgiveness for violence at the 139 residential schools where an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children o were sent there from the end of the 19th century until the 1990s.
Many children were victims of violence there and at least 6,000 died there of disease, malnutrition or neglect in what the pontiff described as “genocide” after his trip.