Trudeau "disappointed" Catholic Church refuses to release residential school records


Trudeau urged Canadian Catholics to "reach out (to their) local parishes, to bishops and cardinals, and make it clear that we expect the Church to step up and take responsibility for its role in this and be there to help in the grieving and the healing, including with records".

Judy Sackaney and her grandson Creedence, 10, stand in front of an honor staff with tobacco ties at the Centennial Flame after participating in a Pipe Ceremony to honor the 215 children whose remains were found at the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Some 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly sent to government-funded, church-operated schools for over more than 150 years. And we're still seeing resistance from the church, possibly from the church in Canada.

Trudeau says he expects the church to be part of the important process of truth and healing and to make school records available.

When asked if the government might compel disclosure, the prime minister responded: "I think, if it is necessary, we will take stronger measures".

Run by the government and church groups - the majority of them Catholic - the schools' stated aim was to assimilate indigenous children.

From 1893 to 1969, a Catholic congregation called the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate ran the Kamloops school, which was once Canada's largest.

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The Conference said on its website that each diocese is separate and responsible for its own actions.

Vatican City: Pope Francis said he was pained by the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Catholic school for indigenous students in Canada and called for respect of the rights and culture of native peoples.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced in 2018 that the Pope could not personally apologize for residential schools, even though he has not shied away from recognizing injustices faced by Indigenous people around the world.

"I follow with sorrow the news that arrives from Canada about the upsetting discovery of the remains of 215 children", Francis said in his customary Sunday noon remarks to the public.

"May the political and religious authorities continue to collaborate with determination to shed light on this sad affair and to commit to a path of healing", Francis added.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for anyone affected by residential schools.