Canadian PM indirectly asks for papal apology

Religious freedom, the conflict in Ukraine, and the environment were all discussed in a June 11 meeting between Pope Francis and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as were the findings of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission into the treatment of First Nations children in State-owned and Church-run Canadian residential schools.

The commission described what happened to some 150,000 children and their communities over 130 years as “cultural genocide”, and the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations had asked the prime minister to raise this with the Pope. 

In a meeting that ostensibly took place so Mr Harper could invite Pope Francis to visit Canada in 2017 for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the prime minister seems to have stopped short of directly requesting a papal apology, however, instead drawing attention to a four-paragraph letter Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt wrote to the Vatican to inform it of the report’s recommendations.