ROME — Pope Francis called for religious and political leaders to “shed light” on the discovery of the bodies of over 200 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in western Canada.
“I follow with pain the news coming from Canada about the distressing discovery of the remains of 215 children, pupils of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, in the province of British Columbia,” the pope told the crowd gathered in Saint Peter’s Square Sunday for his weekly Angelus address.
“I join the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my closeness to the Canadian people, traumatized by the shocking news,” the pontiff continued. “The sad discovery further raises awareness of the pains and sufferings of the past.”
“May the political and religious authorities of Canada continue to work together with determination to shed light on that sad story and to humbly commit themselves to a path of reconciliation and healing,” he said.
“These difficult moments represent a strong appeal for all of us to move away from the colonizing model and also from today’s ideological colonizations,” he said, “and walk side by side in dialogue, in mutual respect and in the recognition of the rights and cultural values of all the sons and daughters of Canada.”
By “ideological colonization,” Francis was referring to the imposition of Western values on the developing world. In the past, the pope has condemned the promotion of abortion and gender theory in third-world nations as a form of such colonization.
“We entrust to the Lord the souls of all the deceased children in residential school in Canada and pray for Canadian indigenous families and communities in pain,” the pope concluded Sunday, before inviting the faithful to join him in silent prayer.