“Urgent solidarity”

Pope Benedict XVI. Has deplored cases of abuse by Catholics and church employees in Canadian residential schools. Such offenses should not be tolerated, the head of the church said Wednesday during a meeting with a group of Canadian aboriginals and church officials at the Vatican.

Beginning in the second half of the 19th. From the mid-twentieth century until the 1980s, Canada had boarding schools where indigenous children were to be educated separately from their parents to Western culture. In the schools, whose management the state usually entrusted to the churches, there had been repeated attacks. The Canadian delegation was led by the Aboriginal Grand Chief, Phil Fontaine; the Church was represented by the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop James Weisgerber. Both had told the pope about their experiences and concerns, a subsequent Vatican statement said. Benedict XVI. had made it clear that the church had accompanied and supported the indigenous people from the beginning of their presence in Canada, especially through the missionaries. "The Pope expressed his pain for the sufferings experienced by some indigenous children due to the deplorable behavior of some members of the Church in the Canadian residential school system," the communique reads.Benedict XVI. expressed its sympathy and its urgent solidarity to them. He had made it emphatically clear that "acts of abuse must not be tolerated in society". He prayed that all those affected would experience healing, and he encouraged Native members to move into the future with renewed hope. In 2007, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet apologized for mistakes made by the church in the past. As archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada, he acknowledged that the narrow-mindedness of some pre-1960 Catholics had fostered anti-Semitism, racism, indifference to aboriginal peoples and discrimination against women and homosexuals.

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