Trudeau seeks papal apology over Canada school abuse

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The prime minister also gave the Pope a set of books known as the Jesuit Relations, which Trudeau called "an essential tool for historians to understand the early years and stories of Jesuit missionaries documenting the origins of Canada".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday urged Pope Francis to visit Canada to apologize to indigenous peoples for the Catholic Church's treatment of aboriginal children in schools it ran there.

Trudeau and the Argentinian pontiff had "cordial discussions" during their 36-minute private meeting, the Vatican said in a statement.

According to a brief May 29 communique from the Vatican, Pope Francis and Prime Minister Trudeau conversed on the topics of integration and reconciliation with indigenous people, as well as religious liberty and current ethical issues.

In its final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which studied the trauma of residential schools, called for a Papal apology similar to the one issued in 2010 for Irish victims of sexual abuse by priests.

While the idea behind the schools was to promote the greater integration of indigenous communities into modern Canadian life, the schools - many run by Catholic religious orders - led to a situation in which many children were torn from their families, lost their native language and cultures and often suffered abuse.

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Papal apologies are not uncommon, with John Paul II issuing a number throughout his papacy including a sweeping, all-encompassing apology for 2,000 years of sins made in St Peter's Basilica in 2000.

"He reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world", Trudeau told reporters.

During the visit, Trudeau extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit the country of Canada, during which time he could bring the Church's apology for harm done to indigenous people in Canada in the mid-19th through 20th centuries when 150,000 children from native tribes were forced to undergo "enculturation" to the state through attendance at residential schools.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper mentioned the commission's finding during a 10-minute audience with Pope Francis in 2015, but did not seek a formal apology. The pair discussed the importance of protecting the planet, he added. Both meetings yielded images of the pope standing blank-faced beside each leader, though he is shown smiling broadly at other points during the respective visits.

The Pope gave Mr. Trudeau a medal highlighting the fourth anniversary of his pontificate, an autographed copy of his message on the World Day of Peace and three encyclicals on family, environment and evangelism.

Trudeau met with The Pope at the Vatican on Sunday where they discussed reconciliation efforts between the Catholic Church and groups marginalized by Canada's residential schools.