ROME – Pope Francis may have apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system on Friday, but it is not the first time Indigenous activists have sought an apology. error from the Pope.
Phil Fontaine, former head of state for the First General Assembly of Nations, accompanied a small delegation from Canada to the Vatican in 2009 and met with former Pope Benedict to discuss abuse and trauma at the Vatican. residential school.
At the time, Pope Benedict VXI expressed “sorrow”, but did not offer a full apology. But today, Fontaine has one.
“He said, ‘I feel very strongly two things: outrage and shame.’ Big words, big words from a big man,” Fontaine told Anchor’s CTV National News and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme.
Fontaine said he hopes the official apology will “assuage” some of the anxiety of the indigenous community.
“I think the church will never be as responsive as they did here today,” he said. “And so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
Watch the full interview with Fontaine in the video at the top of this article.
If you are a former student survivor of a residential school in distress, or have been impacted by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Boarding School Crisis Line : 1-866-925-4419
Mental health support and additional Indigenous resources are available here.