The Pope’s apology could mark a new way forward if the Catholic Church makes genuine reparations for the evils it perpetrated.
Visiting Indigenous people on their land was a step in the right direction, but the pope’s visit was full of tensions over both what was said and what wasn’t.
Apologizing for people versus the establishment that upheld not only the Indian Residential Schools system but protected – and continues to protect — the people who committed the crimes is horrifying.
Whether this apology has truly advanced the goal of healing may become evident only in years and decades to come.
Residential schools and the papal bulls justifying the doctrine of discovery call out for concrete acts of atonement and reparation on the part of the church.
Pope Francis’ visit concerns all Canadians. It’s about our relationship to history and the construction of a state that marginalized Indigenous people and tried to assimilate them.
It is reasonable to expect that any apology from the Pope will be met with mixed responses.
Pope Francis and the Catholic Church must make a plan with Indigenous Peoples, not for us, in order to walk the path of reconciliation. Some initial suggestions of what a plan might include.