Pope Benedict discusses Native residential schools
Pope Benedict XVI at expressed "sorrow" for the Catholic Church's role in the Native residential school system in Canada.

Benedict met privately with First Nations leaders and residential school survivors at the Vatican yesterday. Attendees described his words as heartfelt.

"I sensed his anguish and pain. He acknowledged our suffering and that is important to me and that was what I was looking for," Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine said after the meeting, though Fontaine didn't characterize the pope's words as an official apology.

The Catholic Church ran nearly 75 percent of the residential schools in Canada. The church was found partially liable for the abuses suffered by former students.

After the meeting, the Vatican released the following statement:
His Holiness recalled that since the earliest days of her presence in Canada, the Church, particularly through her missionary personnel, has closely accompanied the indigenous peoples. Given the sufferings that some indigenous children experienced in the Canadian Residential School system, the Holy Father expressed his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity. His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society. He prayed that all those affected would experience healing, and he encouraged First Nations Peoples to continue to move forward with renewed hope.

Get the Story:
Pope expresses 'sorrow' for abuse at residential schools (CBC 4/29)
Pope's comments on residential schools get mixed reception in North (CBC 4/29)
Sorrow expressed for residential-school abuse (The Globe and Mail 4/30)
Canadian Indians get apology from pontiff (AP 4/30)

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Pope Benedict to discuss residential schools (4/29)