Pope Francis travels to Canada amid revelations about Catholic boarding schools

Pope Francis, still frail, is scheduled to travel to Canada on Sunday. The 85-year-old pope’s journey is largely dominated by what happened in Catholic boarding schools for Aboriginal children.

With a trip lasting over ten hours, this is the Pope’s longest trip since 2019. This will be his 37th trip since taking office in 2013. From July 24-30 he will visit the cities of Edmonton, Quebec and Iqaluit. The visit gives him the opportunity to listen to and talk to the indigenous people of Canada. The Canadian Bishops’ Conference (CCCB) said on a visiting website that it will have the opportunity to denounce the appalling treatment of Indigenous children in Catholic boarding schools.

The fact that the Vatican refused to apologize for abuses for years was bad for Canada. Finally, those apologies came this year.

An estimated 150,000 Aboriginal children remained in boarding schools, often forcibly. The schools functioned as institutions of re-education, with the goal of assimilating Aboriginal children into white Christian values. Indigenous children were no longer allowed to speak their mother tongue, were completely cut off from their families and culture, and were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Many children never find their parents again.

In recent years, many mass graves of children who died of disease, abuse or deprivation have been uncovered.

Pope Francis has been struggling with his health for some time. The Pope was first seen in a wheelchair at a public event in early May. He also suffers from hip pain that makes him limp and underwent intestinal surgery in July 2021. He has already postponed his trips to Lebanon, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Megan Vasquez

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