Pope's visit 'not a celebration', say First Nations

Pope's visit is “not a celebration” First Nations


Pope Francis will be visiting Quebec from July 24 to 30, but “it's not a celebration”, wanted to remind the indigenous communities, to whom the Catholic Church owes an apology . 

Pope Francis' visit to Quebec was on everyone's lips on Thursday, when the schedule for his visit was made public. However, if some seem excited by this visit, it is important to remember that this trip is not a courtesy trip, but an opportunity for the Catholic Church to confirm its role in the management of Indian residential schools, according to the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (APQNL).

“Indigenous Residential Schools were established to erase all traces of the spirituality and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. The Catholic Church played a central role in this condemnable enterprise of assimilation,” reaffirmed Ghislain Picard, leader of the APQNL.

The indigenous communities want to remind the authorities, both civil and religious, of the essential duty of respect and memory which must mark each stage and each activity of the pope's visit. The APQNL also calls for respect for the leading role of residential school survivors.

“They are the ones who must be at the heart of what is intended to be an essential step in Reconciliation,” added the leader Picard.

Let us remember that if the Catholic Church has already apologized, the pope has decided to come himself to the land of the survivors of the residential schools to confirm the role of the Church there.

“It is essential to remember […] the reality of Indian residential schools and their consequences, which Pope Francis comes to discuss with us. This papal visit is not a celebration. It will be time for commemoration and respect,” said the head of the APQNL.