Canada's Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi says that much more needs to be done when it comes to reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous peoples. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

More needs to be done on reconciliation, says Pope's representative in Canada

  • June 27, 2017

OTTAWA – Much more needs to be done when it comes to reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, said Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio.

“As we approach the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation this July, we all have to go back to school to examine a page of history and recognize that while many positive benefits came from the evolution of Canada as a nation, there were along the way, difficulties and failings,” Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the Pope’s official representative in Canada, told diplomats, political representatives, Church officials from various faiths and friends attending a June 22 reception at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ottawa.

The Nuncio referred to Pope Francis’ meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month in Rome when the PM requested the Pope visit Canada and officially apologize for the Church’s role in running residential schools, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Pope Francis has spoken out on other occasions about these painful realities as did the popes before him, acknowledging that in the work of evangelization the legitimate aspirations and also the cultural inheritance and profound dignity of persons and communities were not always accorded due respect and honour,” the Nuncio said. “Much more needs to be done in the work of Truth and Reconciliation.”

Although the Saskatchewan bishops have invited the Pope to comply with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for a papal apology, protocol calls for a formal invitation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who have not confirmed that one has been issued.

Bonazzi painted a portrait of Pope Francis for the reception, recalling an interview the Pope did with Fr. Antonio Spadaro for Civiltà Cattolica in 2005. Pope Francis described himself as “a sinner,” the Nuncio said. “I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”

The Pope also told Spadaro that upon his election to the papacy, he said: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

“From this self-awareness and that definition of self that Pope Francis gives, it is easy to understand why, since the first days of his pontificate, he seems interested in only one theme: mercy,” Bonazzi said. “Mercy is the code for deciphering the pontificate of Pope Francis. He is firmly convinced that the mercy of God embraces not only personal situations but also the events of this world, the events of society, human groups, families, peoples and nations.”

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