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Prior to this month, the head of the Catholic Church had visited Canada only three times. These things don’t happen often, so it is remarkable that Pope Francis, hobbled by age, made the trip here this week.
What makes it historic is that the Pope primarily came to apologize to the Indigenous peoples of Canada for the significant role the church played in the operation of residential schools, and the mental, physical and sexual abuse inflicted on Indigenous children.
Not surprisingly, the Pope’s apology was met with mixed reactions. Some Indigenous people greeted it warmly and said they felt it was sincere. Some went as far as to say that it opened the door to forgiveness on their part, and to the possibility of personally moving on.
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