The pope expresses “his shame and his pain” in Quebec

The pope expresses “his shame and his pain” in Quebec

For the first time since 1984, the head of the Catholic Church visited Quebec. On Wednesday, he apologized to the First Nations for the Indian residential schools established in Quebec. However, their representatives did not miss the opportunity to recall that other efforts for reconciliation will have to be made.

Several First Nations members were there, including the Mashteuiatsh walkers. This group, made up of dozens of walkers, traveled the 275 kilometers between the Pointe-Bleue boarding school in Mashteuiatsh and the Plains of Abraham. This journey took them a week.

Among them was Stanley Vollant, founder of the organization Puamun Meshkenu. The surgeon was unable to travel the entire route due to his professional responsibilities. “It’s a long road to healing,” he told the crowd on the Plains of Abraham stage. “We need to walk hand in hand with you. I hope that one day all our children, no matter their language, no matter their skin color, no matter their culture, will have the power to develop their dreams.”

I’m glad the Holy Father is coming here. It is a strong symbol that he really wants forgiveness from our fathers.

Stanley Vollant, founder of the organization Puamun Meshkenu

For his part, the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, recalled that the Catholic Church was presenting its apologies 30 years after those of the Anglican Church. “It’s a good opportunity to try to turn the page,” he said. But I don’t want to underestimate the values ​​of survivors. They are the only ones who can estimate the value of the Pope’s apologies.

During the event, “mental support workers” were on hand to assist First Nations people.

Repeated apologies, but the reconciliation is not over

Pope Francis arrived in Quebec around 3:00 p.m. Quebec Premier François Legault welcomed him there. The papal procession then headed for the Citadel of Quebec, where a welcoming ceremony was held with members of the First Nations. Then the pope spoke.

“The residential school system saw so many indigenous people devaluing their language and culture,” he recalled in a 20-minute speech in Spanish. In this system that separated so many children from their families, local Catholic institutions were implicated. For this, I express my shame and pain. »

I reiterate my request for forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples.

Pope Francis

Before the Pope’s speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recalled that despite his apologies, the reconciliation was not complete. “Let us continue our work together to maintain the hope of a reconciliation, he asked. It is our responsibility.”

After the ceremony, Pope Francis walked a path from the Grande Allée de Québec to the Plains of Abraham, in front of several thousand admirers.

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