Human Lives Human Rights: The leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics in the world, Pope Francis said that he needs to cut down his pace of travel and may even quit as he returned from a six-day trip, calling the decades-long abuse of Indigenous youngsters in Canada “genocide.”
The 85-year-old pope extended a historic apology to the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people for what he called the “evil” carried out at Catholic-run residential schools during his “penitential pilgrimage” across Canada this week.
The leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics in the world described the treatment of children who were uprooted from their homes and cultures in order to attend state schools as “genocide” in a statement to the media upon his return home.
As he explained to reporters the word “I did describe the genocide. And I asked for forgiveness for this process which was genocide “.
He stated, “Taking away children, changing the culture, changing the mentality, changing the traditions, changing a race, let’s put it that way, a whole culture.”
Although most Canadians, from western Alberta to Quebec and the far north, applauded Francis’s historic apology, many survivors argued that much more needed to be done to promote peace.
The pope visited Canada for the 37th time since his election in 2013, although he acknowledged he would have to slow down because of knee issues that required him to spend a large portion of the trip in a wheelchair.
Francis has already stated that, if necessary, he could follow his predecessor Benedict XVI, who made history in 2013 by stepping down because of his deteriorating health.