Pope apologizes for residential-school abuse

"After exchanging greetings all of them sat down. Kash then asked the Spirit of the Living God again if he could ask Shri Jesus some questions. The Great Holy Spirit smiled and told him to go ahead. Kash first posed this question to Shri Christ, "Lord Jesus, who is your Father?” Shri Jesus immediately replied, "The Spirit is My Father.”

Kash then asked Shri Jesus if it would be all right to convince the pope of these Revelations. For the first and only time Kash saw both the Great Adi Shakti and Shri Jesus being taken aback for some reason. Both visibly reacted the very instant the word "pope" was mentioned, as if it was a name that should not be uttered in the Sacred Sanctuary of His Kingdom. They actually moved backwards as the force of the name hit them like a curse. It was as if the word had defiled the immaculate purity, the utter holiness of Heaven itself. It was as if it had the essence of Evil.”

Shri Adi Shakti: The Kingdom Of God, 1999, page 1565

Phil Fontaine, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, wears his traditional headdress as he attends the Pope Benedict XVI general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 29, 2009.”><BR CLEAR=left|right|all></a><font size=Phil Fontaine, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, wears his
traditional headdress as he attends the Pope Benedict XVI general
audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 29, 2009.

Pope apologizes for residential-school abuse
Associated Press

April 29, 2009 at 9:08 AM EDT

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict says he is sorry for the abuse and "deplorable" conduct at church-run residential schools.

The Vatican says the pontiff expressed his sorrow at a meeting today with victims and representatives of native Canadians. During the meeting, at which the group was able to share stories and concerns, Pope Benedict emphasized that "acts of abuse cannot be tolerated.”

From the 19th century until the 1970's, more than 150,000 natives in Canada were made to attend state-funded Christian schools as an effort to assimilate them into society. The aim was to isolate them from the influence of their homes and culture, which the government at the time considered inferior.

Nearly 75 per cent of the 130 schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations.

"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," a Vatican statement said.

"His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society," it said, adding that the Pope was praying that the victims would heal and move forward "with renewed hope.”

The visiting Canadians, some in native headdresses, attended the Pope's general audience and stood up and waved when they were introduced to the crowd of thousands in St. Peter's Square.

The Canadian government has admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology in parliament last year, calling the treatment of children at the schools a sad chapter in the country's history. He said the policy of forced assimilation was wrong, had caused great harm, and had no place in the country.

Canada has also offered compensation, part of a lawsuit settlement between the government, churches and the approximately 90,000 surviving students that amounted to billions of dollars being transferred to aboriginal communities.

The Catholic Church alone paid some $79 million, the Canadian bishops said.

The United, Presbyterian and Anglican churches have all apologized for their roles in the abuse.

Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations who himself suffered abuse at a residential school, has said that survivors want the Pope to acknowledge the role of the Catholic Church in their suffering.

Mr. Fontaine, who was in Rome for the audience, has noted that Pope Benedict expressed personal shame over a clergy sex abuse scandal when he visited the United States and Australia last year and he wanted the pontiff to do the same in this case.


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