The discovery last month of the remains of the children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978, has reopened old wounds and is fueling outrage in Canada about the lack of information and accountability. The school was Canada's largest such facility and was operated by the Catholic church between 1890 and 1969. The former indigenous boarding school in Canada was run by the Catholic Church.
"I am following with pain 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.
Trudeau said on Friday many are "wondering why the Catholic Church in Canada is silent, is not stepping up". "The sad discovery further increases awareness of the pain and suffering of the past", he added.
He urged Catholics across Canada to reach out and "make it clear" that the church needed to take responsibility for its role in the residential school system.
The Prime Minister noted that he had "directly asked" Pope Francis to make the records available during a previous visit to the Vatican but that there was still "resistance". "Holding the Catholic Church to account, there has never been an apology from the Roman Catholics".
On Friday, Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir, on whose land the Kamloops school still stands, told reporters the nation has not received any records from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate that would help identify the children.
"As we ring our bells, perhaps as many as 215 times in honour of each child, we do so with our advocacy and prayers for truth, justice, healing and reconciliation", said the Church of the Epiphany on its Facebook page.
He stressed that Canadian politicians and religious leaders should "cooperate with determination" to investigate the details of the finding and to seek reconciliation and healing for the nation.
"These hard moments represent a strong call to distance ourselves from the colonial model and from today's ideological colonizing and to walk side by side in dialogue, in mutual respect and in recognizing rights and cultural values of all the daughters and sons of Canada", the pope said.
Sudbury churches are planning a commemoration this afternoon to honour children who lost their lives in Canada's residential school system.
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