Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Manitoba Metis Federation President excluded from audience with Pope!

Pope apologizes for residential-school abuse
NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press
April 29, 2009
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, Pope Benedict emphasized that “acts of abuse cannot be tolerated.”
From the 19th century until the 1970s, 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.
Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 29, 2009. (REUTERS/Max Rossi)
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.
Afterward, they were to meet privately with the Pope.
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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Coming Up on Information Radio: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

6:50 am: Will the Pope say he's sorry? A delegation of Canadian aboriginal people is at the Vatican to meet with Pope Benedict. They are hoping to receive an apology for the abuse many residential school children suffered at the hands of the Catholic church. Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand is part of that delegation. We'll speak to him shortly after the papal audience.
As advertised Mr. David Chartrand was indeed interviewed. He was among a group of delegates who were excluded from meeting with The Pope and were waiting to be briefed by the others.
Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

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