Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The Vatican says Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada to help with ongoing efforts to reconcile indigenous peoples after shocking revelations of the Catholic Church’s role in the abuse and death of thousands of native children.

In a brief statement Wednesday, the Vatican said the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the pope to make an apostolic trip to Canada “also in the context of the long-running pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples.”

The Vatican said Francis has indicated he is “willing” to visit Canada on a date to be set.

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Given the time normally required to organize an overseas papal visit, it seemed unlikely that such a pilgrimage could take place this year.

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A few months ago, Francis agreed to meet in December with native survivors of Canada’s infamous housing schools amid calls for a papal apology for the role of the Catholic Church.

At the time, the episcopal conference said the pope had invited delegations to the Vatican and would meet separately with three groups – First Nations, Metis and Inuit – during their visit on 17-20. December.

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The pope will then preside over a final audience with all three groups on December 20, according to the bishops’ group.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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