Sask. bishops discuss residential schools with Pope Francis – Saskatoon

Sask. bishops discuss residential schools with Pope Francis – Saskatoon

Residential schools and a possible papal visit to Saskatchewan were among the topics raised during a two-and-a-half hour meeting between Pope Francis and Western Canadian bishops this week.

It was the group’s first audience in more than a decade with the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

“We talked about our relationship with our Indigenous peoples in a significant way,” Regina Archbishop Don Bolen said in an interview from the Vatican.

Regina Archbishop Don Bolen is part of a delegation which met with Pope Francis this week at the Vatican. (Submitted by Bobbi Yanko, Archdiocese of Regina.)

“You could see [Francis]

 was visibly attentive to the pain and challenges of Indigenous people.”

Roughly two dozen Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops from Western Canada met with Francis as part of a Vatican visit known as “ad limina apostolorum” (meaning “to the threshold of the basilicas of the Apostles”).

The ad limina visits are supposed to occur every five years, but there hasn’t been one since 2006 due to busy schedules and a change in popes.

Bolen says they talked at length about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its call to action number 58, which calls for the Pope to deliver an apology on Canadian soil for the damage done by residential schools.

The call describes the rampant violence and abuse in the schools, as well as the effects which continue today. The commission’s final report notes that the previous pope apologized to the sexual abuse victims of six priests in Ireland.

“We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the…

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