Pope’s Indigenous tour signals a rethink of mission legacy
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis’ trip to Canada to apologize for the horrors of church-run Indigenous residential schools marks a radical rethink of the Catholic Church’s missionary legacy in the Americas. Francis has said his weeklong visit, which begins Sunday, is a “penitential pilgrimage” to beg forgiveness on Canadian soil for the “evil” done to Native peoples by Catholic missionaries.
His tone of repentance signals a marked shift for the papacy, which has long acknowledged abuses in the residential schools and strongly asserted the rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples. But past popes have also hailed the sacrifice and holiness of the European Catholic missionaries who brought Christianity to the Americas.
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