Pope Fran­cis, PM Trudeau meet to dis­cuss rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

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Cana­di­ans are anx­ious to rec­on­cile with Indige­nous Peo­ples, Justin Trudeau de­scribed telling Pope Fran­cis on Mon­day as he asked the pon­tiff to apol­o­gize for the role the Catholic Church played in the tragedy of res­i­den­tial schools.

The Pope — him­self no stranger to the cause of so­cial jus­tice, he noted to Trudeau — seemed open to the idea, the prime min­is­ter said as he re­lated the broad strokes of their pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion at the Vat­i­can.

“He re­minded me that his en­tire life has been ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing marginal­ized peo­ple in the world,” Trudeau said af­ter he ar­rived back in Rome.

Pope Fran­cis also ex­pressed his en­thu­si­asm for work­ing with the prime min­is­ter and the Cana­dian bish­ops on find­ing a way for­ward on the is­sue of an apol­ogy, as rec­om­mended by the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion.

The com­mis­sion in­cluded the de­mand for a pa­pal apol­ogy — to sur­vivors, their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties — as one of the 94 rec­om­men­da­tions in its re­port on the dark 120-year his­tory and tragic legacy of res­i­den­tial schools.

Trudeau, who has promised to act on each rec­om­men­da­tion, had pre­vi­ously com­mit­ted to speak­ing to the Pope about an apol­ogy, but pointed out he could not com­pel the pon­tiff to agree.

On Mon­day, Trudeau said he in­vited the Pope to visit Canada in the com­ing years, and thanked him for the global lead­er­ship he has shown on cli­mate change.

“We talked about how im­por­tant it is to both high­light the sci­en­tific ba­sis of pro­tect­ing our planet, with the moral and eth­i­cal obli­ga­tion to lead and to build a bet­ter fu­ture for all peo­ple on this earth,” he said.

Trudeau, a re­li­gious Catholic, sug­gested the meet­ing gave him some spir­i­tual ful­fill­ment.

“I also had an op­por­tu­nity to have a deeply per­sonal and widerang­ing, thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion with the leader of my own faith.”


PM Justin Trudeau meets with Pope Fran­cis for a pri­vate au­di­ence at the Vat­i­can.

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