Canadian truth commission asks Pope for apology

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on Pope Francis to issue an apology to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis survivors, families, and communities for the Church's role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children in Catholic-run residential schools.

The commission was established under the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, examining the conduct of schools founded and funded by the Canadian government, but run by religious bodies, 60% of which were Catholic.

Rome has never publicly commented on Church involvement in the Canadian residential school system, and Alberta’s Archbishop Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan says it is for the Canadian Church, not for the Pope, to address this issue. 

It had been difficult for the commission to understand the Church's decentralised structure, in which every bishop is solely responsible for his diocese,  he said, adding that by insisting on a papal apology on Canadian soil within one year the commission will have made it more difficult to arrange an apology.