Trudeau invites Pope to indigenous apology

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The Prime Minister of Canada met with Pope Francis today (29 May) where he was expected to ask for an apology from the Church for its role in a residential school system which saw indigenous children taken from their families and in some cases abused.

Trudeau said that in their private talks, the pope "reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world, fighting for them, and that he looks forward to working with me and with the Canadian bishops to figure out a path forward together".

According to a brief May 29 communique from the Vatican, Pope Francis and Prime Minister Trudeau conversed on the topics of integration and reconciliation with indigenous people, as well as religious liberty and current ethical issues.

Trudeau says he also invited Pope Francis to visit Canada in the coming years.

A readout from the Prime Minister's Office described "an extended conversation" on the need for leadership on issues like climate change and mass migration, and a discussion about stronger relations between Canada and the Holy See.

At 1:04 p.m., a bell rang, signalling the end of the private audience, which began in the Pope's private quarters at about 12:28 p.m.

But what really has the Internet riled up is The Pope's unenthusiastic expression when posing for a photo with Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire - appropriately dubbed "Resting Pope Face".

Trudeau also presented the Pope with a Montagnais-French dictionary written by a French Jesuit in the 17th century.


Along with the three customary documents, the Pope also gave the prime minister a copy of his message for the 2017 World Day of Peace, which he signed, just like the one he gave to U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting last week.

Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up inform the Canadian public about the schools, and to study the trauma suffered by those forced to attend them, called on the pope to make an apology in Canada.

The formal apology is one of the commission's 94 recommendations towards repairing the relationship between the government of Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Canadian bishops from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec met with Pope Francis recently for their ad limina visits in April and the beginning of May. "He's a very influential individual and to have him come would be a. huge undertaking on that road to reconciliation".

On Tuesday, Trudeau will continue his official visit to Italy, where he will meet Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and deliver an address to parliamentarians.

Most of the residential schools were run by Catholics, which is why an apology from the Pope would be so important to Indigenous communities.

A spokesperson said Trudeau had a private drink with former prime minister Matteo Renzi on Monday evening.

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