VIEW | Pope’s “ pain ” over bodies found in a Canadian Aboriginal school

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  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Catholic Church to take responsibility for the role it played in the loss of life.
  • Pope Francis commented on the opening at a former Aboriginal boarding school in Canada run by the Church.
  • The remains of 215 children in a mass grave were found in Canada at an indigenous school.

Pope Francis expressed his “pain” Sunday over the discovery of the remains of 215 children in a mass grave at a former church-run Aboriginal boarding school in Canada.

But he didn’t get to the point of apologizing, which many people have called for in connection with the unfolding scandal.

“It pains me to follow the news from Canada about the shocking discovery of the remains of 215 children,” he said after Sunday prayers in St. Peter’s Square.

The discovery of the remains of children last month shocked Canadian society.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called on the Catholic Church to take responsibility for the deaths at the Kamloops Indian boarding school in British Columbia.

He has already pledged “concrete action” by the government and called on his fellow Catholics in Canada to make it clear to the Church that they also expect full cooperation from her.

He added:

Before we start taking the Catholic Church to court, I really hope that the religious leaders will understand that they need to get involved in this.

In his Sunday address, Pope Francis said: “I unite with the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church of Canada in expressing my solidarity with the Canadian people, traumatized by this shocking news.

“The sad discovery further heightens the awareness of the pain and suffering of the past,” he added.

‘Reconciliation and Healing’

The Pope called on political and religious leaders in Canada to work together to “shed light on this sad issue” and begin the process of “reconciliation and healing.”

But in his comments on Friday, Trudeau stressed, “We need truth before we can talk about justice, healing and reconciliation.”

On Friday, UN human rights experts called on Ottawa and the Vatican to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of the case.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver on Wednesday apologized on behalf of the Church in a statement.

But more and more calls for an apology from the Pope himself, including from some ministers of the Canadian government.

The Kamloops Indian boarding school was the largest of 139 boarding schools established in the late 19th century to assimilate the indigenous peoples of Canada, with up to 500 students simultaneously enrolled and attended.

Only 50 deaths were officially reported at the institution, where the principal once pleaded for more funds to properly feed the students.

It was run by the Catholic Church on behalf of the Canadian government from 1890 to 1969, before Ottawa took over and closed it down ten years later.

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