Canada's Justin Trudeau Asked the Pope to Apologize for Residential School Abuse

US President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver press statements before an official dinner in Jerusalem

Pope Francis appears alternately smiling and scowling alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a series of pool photos taken at their meeting in Vatican City on Monday.

Many residential schools were run by Catholic churches, although other religious denominations also had a role.

Mr. Trudeau said he thanked the Pope for his global leadership on the environment during their private discussions in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

Although the residential schools were supported by the Canadian government, Prime Minister Trudeau suggested that Pope Francis should visit the country to make an apology.

Trudeau's government has promised a call to action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's demand for a papal apology to survivors, their families and communities related to the dark legacy of residential schools. The TRC report said the church-run schools attempted to assimilate Indigenous children by removing their culture, identity and language. "The parties then focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation".

Prime Minster Trudeau had also let it be known to journalists that he would extend an invitation to Francis to visit Canada.

On Tuesday, Trudeau will continue his official visit to Italy, where he will meet Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and deliver an address to parliamentarians. In March, Francis said sorry for the Catholic Church's role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide while, on the plane back from Armenia last June, the Pope said Christians should ask for forgiveness for their treatment of gay people. The Prime Minister's Office described the audience as having been 42 minutes long.




This was one of the end-2015 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which heard testimony from almost 7,000 alumni over six years.

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said he remains hopeful the Pope will come through with a formal apology.

Trudeau's meeting came the week after U.S. President Donald Trump met with the pope.

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

"We talked about how important it is to highlight the scientific basis of protecting our planet and the moral and ethical obligations to lead, to build a better future for all people on this earth", Trudeau said.

The leaders exchanged gifts, with Trudeau giving the Pope a rare set of the Jesuit Relations - books compiled of reports that Jesuit priests wrote to the head of their order detailing life in New France in the 1600s.

Pope Francis returned the good gesture with a gold medal marking the fourth year of his pontificate, an autographed copy of his message for World Peace Day and three papal letters.

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