Updated as of 1:30pm Tuesday
Pope Francis will hold an open-air mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium today (Tuesday) on the second full day of his visit to Canada.
The event comes after his historic apology yesterday (Monday) for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.
BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee witnessed the apology and stated the following:
“The apology is a signal for all members of the Roman Catholic Church to accept the responsibility, and the shame, of the evil atrocities that were committed upon generations of Indigenous peoples,” stated Teegee.
In an interview with My PG Now, Teegee said he thinks “it was a very positive move on behalf of the Pope. It certainly didn’t go far enough in the eyes of many, but I think overall the apology really notes there is a willingness to make changes to the church.”
Teegee also says actions will speak louder than words.
“Going forward, Pope Francis’ apology will become meaningful and sincere when he rescinds the Doctrine of Discovery and denounces the concept of terra nullius which, under international law, gave license to explorers to claim ‘vacant’ lands in the name of European sovereigns,” he continued.
The pontiff called the system “a deplorable evil” during a visit to the site of a former school south of Edmonton, saying he was expressing “deep pain and remorse” for the church’s involvement.
Francis said he was “deeply sorry” that many Christians supported what he called the “colonizing mentality” of the powers that oppressed indigenous peoples.
He said the system has had a “catastrophic impact” on First Nations.
– with files from Will Peters and Vista Radio newswire