Closing the Apology Book


Convivium, 30 May 2017

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Pope Francis and asked him to offer the formal apology recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Father Raymond J. de Souza commented on that recommendation on  December 22, 2015 in the National PostConvivium reprints it below.

The release of the final report of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on the residential schools system spoke of the need to move from "apology to action."  Yet there was apparently some unfinished business on the apology front, as the TRC called upon the "the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church's role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children ... to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada."

It is puzzling why the commissioners think an apology would be a good idea.  Or, more precisely, why they think it would be a good idea again.

On April 29, 2009 — before the TRC got going, it should be noted — Pope Benedict XVI met with a delegation of aboriginal Canadians he had invited to the Vatican at the request of the bishops of Canada.  On the topic of residential schools, Benedict expressed "his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity," according to the Vatican press summary of the meeting.

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