Pope Francis a visit Canada 2022

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This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada to assist with ongoing reconciliation efforts with indigenous groups, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The trip follows disturbing revelations this spring about the indigenous children who died while attending residential schools.

The Catholic Church was essential in the schools' founding and operation.

The date of the papal visit has not yet been announced.

The Pope has not issued a formal apology for the Church's role, despite repeated calls by Canadians.

In a short statement, the Vatican said that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had invited the pope to make an apostolic trip to Canada "also in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples".

"His Holiness has indicated his willingness to visit the country on a date to be settled in due course," the statement said.

In Canada, support for reconciliation – repairing the relationship between indigenous people, non-indigenous people and the government – is at a recent high.

The support comes after a series of unmarked burial sites were discovered in western Canada over the spring and summer, most believed to belong to former students of residential schools.

Between May and July, more than 1,100 burial sites were found. Some of the remains were believed to be of children as young as three.

The landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, released in 2015, detailed sweeping failures in the care and safety of these children, and complicity by the church and government.

"Government, church and school officials were well aware of these failures and their impact on student health," the authors wrote. "If the question is, 'who knew what when?' the clear answer is: 'Everyone in authority at any point in the system's history.'"

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