On Saturday, Pope Francis met with both Canadian cardinals based at the Vatican, as their country continues to grapple with the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Catholic school for indigenous youngsters.
According to the Vatican’s daily announcement of papal appointments, the pope met separately with Cardinal Michael Czerny and Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
In his function as head of the Vatican department in charge of bishops, Ouellet talks with the Pope every Saturday.
Czerny, the Vatican’s expert on migrants and refugees, does not meet with the Pope on a weekly basis. He is a Canadian citizen of Czech descent whose family moved to Montreal when he was two years old.
Around 150,000 children were forcibly removed from their homes as a result of the residential school system. In what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission labeled “cultural genocide” in 2015, many people were subjected to abuse, rape, and hunger.
Their claimed goal was to assimilate indigenous children, and they were run by the government and various Christian churches.
The discovery of the children’s bones at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978, has resurrected old scars and sparked indignation in Canada about a lack of information and accountability.