The Vatican says Pope Francis has agreed to travel to Canada to help reconciliation efforts with indigenous peoples following shocking revelations about the role of the Catholic Church in the abuse and death of thousands of children indigenous
In a brief statement Wednesday, the Vatican said 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.” The Vatican says Francis has indicated his “willingness” to visit Canada on a date to be determined.
Considering the time usually required to organize a papal visit abroad, it seemed unlikely that such a pilgrimage could take place this year.
A few months ago, Francis agreed to meet in December with Indigenous survivors of Canada’s infamous residential schools amid calls for a papal apology for the role of the Catholic Church. At that time, the bishops’ conference said the pontiff had invited delegations to the Vatican and would separately meet with three groups – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – during their visit from December 17 to 20. The pope will then preside over a final audience with the three groups on December 20, according to the bishops’ group.