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Pope Francis. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada amid a growing scandal over the Catholic Church's role in the abuse of generations of the country's Indigenous children, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have long called on the church to apologize for its role in running residential schools where Indigenous children were subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

Driving the news: In a statement, the Vatican said that the pope would travel to the country "in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples." It added that a date for the visit has not been finalized.

  • The Canadian government, the Presbyterian Church, the Anglican Church and the United Church of Canada have all apologized for their role in running the residential schools. But the Catholic Church has so far declined to do so, per AP.

The big picture: More than 150,000 Indigenous children attended Canada's state-funded religious boarding schools from 1883 to 1996.

  • Thousands of those children died there of disease and other causes, AP reported. Many others never returned home to their families.
  • Nearly three-quarters of the schools were run by Catholic congregations, per AP.

Catch up quick: In May, an Indigenous Canadian group announced the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a residential school that was run by the Catholic Church in British Columbia. Some of the children were as young as 3.

  • In June, Pope Francis said that he was saddened by the news but did not apologize.

Go deeper

U.S. bishops slated to debate whether Biden should receive communion

Pope Francis meets President Biden at the Apostolic Palace on Oct. 29 in the Vatican. Photo: Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week is expected to debate whether President Biden's support for abortion rights should disqualify him from receiving communion.

Driving the news: At the organization's annual general assembly in Baltimore, the bishops are slated to vote on a document, which clarifies the meaning of "Holy Communion," Reuters writes.

Revisiting Indigenous curriculum in Austin schools

Native American veterans carry U.S. and tribal flags before entering the "Rocking the Rez" Pow Wow in 2016 in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Educators at the Austin Independent School District are trying to reshape how Native American history and modern-day issues are incorporated in classroom curriculums.

Why it matters: For decades, the history of Native Americans has been largely told from a white, European perspective.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

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