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Pope, Trudeau talk about reconciliation with Canada's indigenous people


  • Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, Reuters pool)
  • Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
  • Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, Reuters pool)
  • Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, Reuters pool)
  • Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
  • Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he asked Pope Francis to help Canadians "move forward on a real reconciliation" with the country's indigenous people "by issuing an apology" on behalf of the Catholic Church for its role in harming their communities.

The prime minister spoke to a handful of reporters in Rome's Villa Borghese Park May 29 after having had a 36-minute private meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

"He reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world, fighting for them," the prime minister said, adding the pope said that "he looked forward to working with me and with the Canadian bishops to figure out a path forward together."

The 2015 report of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which focused on past treatment of the indigenous communities and concrete steps for a future of greater inclusion, included a recommendation that the pope come to Canada to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for its participation in the residential schools for indigenous children.

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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