The Catholic Church ran 60 to 70 percent of the roughly 130 residential schools under contract to the government. Yet the Vatican for years had repeatedly resisted calls for a papal apology.
That changed this year after a delegation representing Canada’s three largest Indigenous groups traveled to the Vatican in March to again press for an apology in Canada. The pope, who apologized at the Vatican, expressing “sorrow and shame” for the abuses Indigenous people endured, agreed to apologize in Canada too.
For Francis, the six-day trip will mark the end of a long travel drought. It will be his first trip out of Rome since April, when he spent a weekend in Malta where he appealed for better treatment of migrants.
The Vatican abruptly postponed a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, scheduled to take place in early July, citing continuing problems with the pope’s knee that have made it difficult for him to walk.
He now regularly appears in public using a cane or seated in a wheelchair, and he has apologized for remaining seated during public audiences.
Ian Austen reported from Ottawa, and Elisabetta Povoledo reported from Rome.