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Pope Francis meets Inuit residential school survivors as ‘pilgrimage of penance’ ends in Iqaluit

IQALUIT, NunavutPope Francis begged for forgiveness for the evil perpetrated by “not just a few” Catholics as he wrapped up Friday a six-day go to that noticed celebration and criticism for his repeated apologies for the Catholic Church’s function in cultural assimilation and residential colleges.

“How evil it’s to interrupt the bonds uniting mother and father and kids, to break our closest relationships, to hurt and scandalize the little ones,” Francis mentioned in Spanish, which was translated to Inuktitut and English, throughout his closing public deal with in Iqaluit.


Indigenous elders pay attention as Pope Francis provides an apology throughout a public occasion in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Friday, July 29, 2022, throughout his papal go to throughout Canada.



Pope Francis greets Indigenous folks after arriving in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Friday, July 29, 2022 throughout his papal go to throughout Canada.


The temporary cease in Nunavut’s capital marked the primary time a pope has travelled to the territory. Francis met privately with Inuit residential college survivors and their households on the Nakasuk Elementary Faculty earlier than participating in a public cultural occasion.

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“We’re right here with the need to pursue collectively a journey of therapeutic and reconciliation that, with the assistance of the Creator, will help us make clear what occurred and transfer past that darkish previous,” Francis mentioned.

READ MORE:  Pope Francis says genocide happened at residential schools: ‘I did condemn this’

The apology mirrored others the pontiff gave throughout stops in Alberta and Quebec.

Francis had described the historic journey as “penitential,” saying the intention was reconciliation with Indigenous folks. Many applauded each the Pope’s presence and apologies, however others discovered his phrases and efforts missing.

Arnrak Korgak, a day college survivor, mentioned he had hoped Francis would go additional in his apology and acknowledge the church, as an establishment, performed a task. However he mentioned there was nonetheless therapeutic within the Pope’s phrases.

“It’s exhausting for folks, particularly for the survivors who expertise ache and abuse,” he mentioned. “And that needed to be acknowledged, in order that it by no means occurs once more.”

Conventional dancers, drummers and throat singers carried out in entrance of Francis. The pontiff smiled and clapped after a efficiency by Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds-Ramsay.

READ MORE: Pope Francis wraps Canadian reconciliation visit by apologizing in Inuktitut: ‘Mamianaq’

Mary-Lee Aliyak mentioned residential colleges tried to remove Inuit tradition and language. So it was necessary to showcase tune and dance for Francis.

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“Immediately is historical past,” she mentioned. “It’s making a historical past that we’re acknowledged as folks, because the First Peoples of Canada.”

An individual held up an indication calling for the Doctrine of Discovery, a decree from the Vatican that was used to justify colonization, to be rescinded. It was a message seen at practically each cease on the Pope’s tour.

Piita Irniq additionally carried out a standard drum dance and introduced the instrument to Francis as a present on the finish. The Inuit elder has tried for many years to have Johannes Rivoire, an Oblate priest accused of sexual abuse towards Inuit youngsters, returned to Canada to face expenses. An Inuit delegation to Rome earlier this yr additionally requested the Pope personally intervene within the case.

The federal authorities mentioned this week that Canada has requested France to extradite Rivoire, who is needed on a Canada-wide warrant.

On Thursday, Francis denounced the “evil” of sexual abuse for the primary time on the journey whereas at a prayer service in Quebec Metropolis.

READ MORE: Pope Francis condemns ‘oppressive’ policies against Indigenous in Canada

He additionally had a personal assembly with Indigenous leaders and survivors in Quebec Metropolis earlier Friday. Ghislain Picard, head of the Meeting of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, mentioned it will likely be as much as every particular person to resolve if the Pope’s journey met their expectations.

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He mentioned survivors have “had their second.”

“It’s actually as much as them to take the measure of all this, whether or not it’s going to supply that form of method for his or her therapeutic,” Picard mentioned. “It’s going to take time.”

The delegation included survivors and representatives of First Nations throughout Jap Canada, a few of whom could possibly be seen presenting the Pope with items.

Cree Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty mentioned the assembly was marked by some confusion as supporters of some residential college survivors had been requested to depart the room by the archbishop’s employees even after papal safety had allow them to in.

She mentioned survivors used the assembly to share their ache and tales. One from her group in northern Quebec forgave the church for trespassing towards the group, she mentioned, whereas one nation insisted on how its methods, tradition and language have to be acknowledged and revered by the church.

Chief Duke Peltier of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in northern Ontario mentioned after the assembly that he had anticipated “just a little extra sincerity and extra of an acceptance of accountability for the church’s participation within the assimilative efforts of our folks.”

In his deal with in Quebec Metropolis, Francis mentioned he had been enriched by tales of the Indigenous folks he has met in Canada.

“I can actually say that, whereas I got here to be with you, it was your life and experiences, the Indigenous realities of those lands, which have touched me, remained with me, and can all the time be part of me.”

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© 2022 The Canadian Press

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