The pope says he received as a "slap" the testimonies of indigenous Canadians

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he received as a "slap in the face" the testimonies of indigenous victims of violence in boarding schools run by the Church, during his trip to Canada last week.

The pope says he received as a "slap" the testimonies of indigenous Canadians

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he received as a "slap in the face" the testimonies of indigenous victims of violence in boarding schools run by the Church, during his trip to Canada last week.

The pontiff returned on Saturday from a six-day trip where he met with First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives, to whom he asked forgiveness for what he called the "evil" committed in these residential schools, set up by the governments of the time but mostly administered by the Catholic Church.

“I assure you that in these meetings, especially the last one, I received the pain of these people like a slap in the face,” Francis said during the weekly general audience at the Vatican.

Hearing "old people who have lost children, who do not know where they are" was "a painful moment", he underlined.

Francis concluded his Canadian trip on Friday in Iqaluit, capital of the vast territory of Nunavut in the Arctic archipelago, where he again asked for forgiveness for the violence in the 139 boarding schools where around 150,000 indigenous children were sent from the end of the 19th century in the 1990s.

Many children were victims of violence there and at least 6,000 died there from disease, malnutrition or neglect in what Francis described as "genocide" after his trip.

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