Pope Francis atones for Canadian Catholic child abuse

Pope Francis apologised for Catholics' role in government-sponsored "programmes of cultural annihilation & forced assimilation" that he said destroyed indigenous communities. 

“I humbly seek forgiveness for the atrocity committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples.” 

The pope said in a speech to indigenous leaders, elders, former residential school pupils, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, & Governor General Mary Simon.

His apologies were repeatedly applauded & cheered. An indigenous chief gave the pope a ceremonial headdress at the end of his speech, amid shouts.

The pope made his first public appearance in Maskwacis, 60 miles outside Edmonton, on Monday. 

His nearly weeklong visit to Canada concludes Friday. He will seek forgiveness & reconciliation with Canada's indigenous people.

The 85-year-old pope used a wheelchair for the gathering but briefly rose to greet indigenous leaders. 

Pope Francis has apologised for the Catholic Church's persecution of Protestants & se*ual abuse of kids by priests.

Until his trip to Canada, which he called a penitential pilgrimage, he had never centred an entire trip on an apology.

The pope acknowledged that "today's encounter can bring up old memories & hurts" Nearby, a teepee sign advertised "mental health & cultural help." 

Wilton Littlechild, a former grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, greeted the pope before he spoke.