A classroom building of Kamloops Indian Residential School about 1950. (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Library and Archives Canada)
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“For the souls of all children who died in Residential Schools far from the comforting presence of the families, and for all those who mourn their tragic deaths: we pray they find comfort and peace in the presence of our loving Lord and Saviour.”
Expression of Commitment
June 2, 2021
Dear First Nations governments and all Indigenous communities, families and citizens,
In light of the heartbreaking disclosure of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, I am writing to express my deep apology and profound condolences to the families and communities that have been devastated by this horrific news. Each time new evidence of a tragedy is revealed, or another victim comes forward, countless wounds are reopened, and I know that you experience renewed suffering.
I take this opportunity to reflect upon the apology I gave publicly before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013, words to which I remain committed and accountable: “I wish to apologize sincerely and profoundly to the survivors and their families, as well as to all those subsequently affected, for the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of those Catholics who perpetrated mistreatment of any kind in these residential schools.” The Church was unquestionably wrong in implementing a government colonialist policy which resulted in devastation for children, families and communities.