Francis, in post-Angelus greetings, spoke of the discovery in Canada of the bodies of over 200 indigenous children near a Catholic school, inviting us to shed light on what happened in the years between the end of the 1800s and the 1900s.
Francesca Sabatinelli – Vatican City
A silent prayer for those 215 children who died in Canada in a Catholic residential school for indigenous people in British Columbia. It was Francis who asked for it, in the words of the post-Angelus, when he recalled the “shocking discovery of the remains of 215 children from Kamloops Indian Residential School”, which took place about two weeks ago. A shocking news, the Pope defined it, which has traumatized the Canadian people, to whom Francis expresses, “as well as the whole Catholic Church of Canada, his closeness, entrusting the souls of those dead children and praying for the families and Canadian indigenous communities in pain “: (Listen to the report with the Pope’s voice)
The sad discovery further raises awareness of the pains and sufferings of the past. May the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to work together with determination to shed light on that sad story and humbly commit to a path of reconciliation and healing. These difficult times represent a strong call for all of us to move away from the colonizing model and even the ideological colonizations of today and walk side by side in dialogue and mutual respect and recognition of the rights and cultural values of all the daughters and sons of Canada. .
A diversity paid for with life
The mass grave was discovered near the school, which was part of a network created by the government and run by the Catholic Church. The Kamloops Indian Residential School was active from the end of the 19th century until the end of the 60s, and was then definitively closed in 1978. About 150 thousand indigenous children separated from their families and transferred to these schools, created precisely to assimilate the natives. Children, who were forbidden to speak their native language, were often abused and mistreated, many paid for their diversity with their lives.
The pain of the Canadian bishops
In a statement dated May 31, the Canadian bishops expressed their “deep sorrow”, reaffirming their commitment to the country’s aboriginal communities. This dramatic and horrible episode adds to a painful page in the history of the country. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report on residential schools more than five years ago. The nearly 4,000-page document detailed the abuse of Aboriginal children in institutions, where at least 3,200 children have died as a result of abuse and neglect. The investigations, also encouraged by the Pope, will continue with the government’s full will to safeguard and identify the remains.