One on one

Trudeau to ask Pope to apol­o­gize for res­i­den­tial schools in Canada

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is ex­pected to ask Pope Fran­cis for a for­mal apol­ogy for the role of the Catholic Church in the res­i­den­tial school sys­tem when the two meet dur­ing a pri­vate au­di­ence later this month.

The Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (TRC) in­cluded the de­mand for a pa­pal apol­ogy -– to sur­vivors, their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties – among the 94 rec­om­men­da­tions in its re­port on the dark his­tory and legacy of res­i­den­tial schools.

Trudeau, who has promised to act on all 94 rec­om­men­da­tions, has pre­vi­ously promised to speak to the Pope about an apol­ogy, but noted he could not com­pel him to agree.

“It is a con­ver­sa­tion that is go­ing to have to hap­pen be­tween the two gen­tle­men,” said a fed­eral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, who spoke to re­porters at a tech­ni­cal brief­ing on the con­di­tion that sources not be named.

“Ob­vi­ously, the Vat­i­can is well aware of the TRC re­quest and they know that’s some­thing that we will be rais­ing, but in terms of ad­vanc­ing that con­ver­sa­tion, I think it’s go­ing to have to hap­pen in the room,” the of­fi­cial said.

Cana­dian bish­ops have also raised the is­sue dur­ing vis­its to the Vat­i­can dur­ing the last few months. Trudeau is also bring­ing his wife, So­phie Gre­goire Trudeau, to meet Pope Fran­cis when he vis­its the Vat­i­can May 29, but she and all oth­ers will re­main out­side the room when the prime min­is­ter and the reli­gious leader hold their pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion.

The visit will also in­volve a tour of the Vat­i­can mu­seum and the famed Sis­tine Chapel, where the ceil­ing was painted by Re­nais­sance artist Michelan­gelo.

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