Jun 25, 2021 - World

Trudeau: Pope should apologize in Canada over unmarked graves

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Canada
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on June 25 in Ottawa, Canada. Photo: Sean Kilpatrick / POOL / AFP.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that he asked the Pope to apologize on Canadian soil for the Catholic Church's role in running residential schools for Indigenous children after nearly 1,000 bodies were found in two unmarked graves, Reuters reports.

The big picture: The remains of 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, were discovered at the site of a former boarding school in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, an Indigenous group said this week.

  • This comes less than one month after the remains of about 215 children were found at another former boarding school in British Columbia.
  • About 150,000 Indigenous children are estimated to have passed through about 150 residential schools in Canada, which were run by the Catholic Church until 1979.
  • Pope Francis has said that he is saddened over the discovery of the remains, but has not apologized.

What he's saying: "I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness Pope Francis to press upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil," Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa, per Reuters.

  • "I know that the Catholic church leadership is looking and very actively engaged in what next steps can be taken."
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