“Pope lands in Canada, set for apologies to Indigenous groups” – TTG

Pope Francis begins his “pilgrimage of penance.” He kissed the hand of residential school survivor Elder Alma Desjarlais of the Frog Lake First Nations as she was introduced to him.

EDMONTON, Alberta — Pope Francis began a historic visit to Canada on Sunday to apologize to Indigenous peoples for abuses by missionaries at residential schools, a key step in the Catholic Church’s efforts to reconcile with Native communities and help them heal from generations of trauma.

Francis kissed the hand of a residential school survivor as he was greeted at the Edmonton, Alberta, airport by Indigenous representatives, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mary Simon, an Inuk who is Canada’s first Indigenous governor general. The gesture set the tone of what Francis has said is a “penitential pilgrimage” to atone for the role of Catholic missionaries in the forced assimilation of generations of Native children — a visit that has stirred mixed emotions across Canada as survivors and their families cope with the trauma of their losses and receive a long-sought papal apology.

Francis had no official events scheduled Sunday, giving him time to rest before his meeting Monday with survivors near the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, where he is expected to pray at a cemetery and apologize.

Francis exited the back of his plane with the help of an ambulift, given his strained knee ligaments have forced him to use a wheelchair. The simple welcome ceremony took place in airport hangar, where Indigenous drums and chanting broke the silence. As Trudeau and Simon sat beside Francis, a succession of Indigenous leaders and elders greeted the pope and exchanged gifts. At one point, Francis kissed the hand of residential school survivor Elder Alma Desjarlais of the Frog Lake First Nations as she was introduced to him.


Comment: In addition to Edmonton, Pope Francis’ pilgrimage of penance, as he put it, will take him to Quebec City and Iqaliut, the capital of Nunavut. The sole purpose of the trip is to deliver an apology for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system. Whether Francis will go beyond the act of expressing contrition and asking for forgiveness is not known. As in the prayer said during the sacrament of confession, will Francis firmly intend, with God’s help, “to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid anything that may lead me to sin?” Of course, he’s speaking here for the entire Roman Catholic Church. It is not just a personal act of contrition. What, if anything, will he do?

Will he renounce the 1493 Doctrine of Discovery, Inter Caetera, issued by Pope Alexander VI. This Papal Bull supported Spain’s strategy to ensure its exclusive right to the lands discovered by Columbus. It established a demarcation line one hundred leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands and gave Spain the exclusive right to acquire territorial possessions and to trade in all lands west of that line. The Papal Bull went far beyond this simple drawing of a line on a map. It stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be discovered, claimed and exploited by Christian rulers and declared that “the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.” 

This doctrine became a guiding force for European exploration and exploitation of Africa and the Americas. It was even cited by Chief Justice John Marshall in the 1823 case Johnson vs. McIntosh in his written opinion that “that the principle of discovery gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands.”  The Court ruled that Native American nations did not have the right to sell their own land, that with the independence from Britain, the United States government inherited the right of preemption over Native American lands. 

The taking of land inhabited by others is not exclusively a Western Christian idea. It’s a universally human condition… at least among human societies with the power to exercise that condition. The difference lies in that the doctrine of discovery lays claim to not just the land, but to the people that inhabit that land and those peoples’ very souls. This doctrine led to the wrongs that now bring Pope Francis to Canada on his pilgrimage of penance.


Note: For further background on the subject, America Magazine did a deep dive that contains both a podcast and a video interview. I also did an article on the subject a year ago. The ensuing discussion was interesting, to say the least.

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34 Responses to “Pope lands in Canada, set for apologies to Indigenous groups” – TTG

  1. Steve says:

    There’s a very warm feeling emanating from the Jesuits/Liberation Theologians taking the reigns of Rome. I for one would like to see this continue.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Eskimos next? How about for Pius IX recognizing the CSA? how about owning up to priests playing footsie with ODESSA in the ratline out of Europe?

      • Steve says:


        I take it you’re still supportive of the death squad supporting JP….

        • TTG says:


          No Pope supported death squad activity in Central America if that’s what you’re referring to. Unless you’re talking about the Inquisition and the burning of heretics.

        • morongobill says:

          Below the belt and lying bs.

      • TTG says:


        Francis is going to Iqaliut. Don’t know what he has to say to the Inuit. He might be going there because of its status as a semi-autonomous territory of Canada. Or maybe he just wants to not ignore the largely Christian Inuit.

        The story of Pius IX recognizing the CSA is an interesting episode. Just found a pertinent post on Reddit from someone who did his senior thesis on the subject. He listed his primary source collections:

        Messages and Papers of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, 1861-1865, ed. James D. Richardson (New York: Chelsea House — Robert Hector Publishers, 1966)
        United States Ministers to the Papal States: Instructions and Despatches, 1848-1868, vol. 1 of American Catholic Historical Association Documents, ed. Leo Francis Stock (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1933)

        His post seems quite complete and long. Pope Pius IX immediately saw through the hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation which lead the CSA to think they had a shot at Papal recognition. It didn’t work out that way. The Pope wanted the fighting and killing to stop, but would not support CSA insistence on maintaining slavery as an institution.


  2. Fourth and Long says:

    “Sorry Injuns. We wuz too busy molestin da faithful’s chilluns to get round to pologizin fo blessin a genocide.” Said Dope Fransissy.

  3. Fred says:

    “Then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology over the residential schools in 2008. As part of a lawsuit settlement involving the government, churches and approximately 90,000 surviving students, Canada paid reparations that amounted to billions of dollars being transferred to Indigenous communities. Canada’s Catholic Church says its dioceses and religious orders have provided more than $50 million in cash and in-kind contributions, and hope to add $30 million more over the next five years.”

    Oh, this was addressed before?

    “Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 had called for a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil, but it was only after the 2021 discovery of the possible remains….”

    And since that time, almost a decade ago, after a billion USD is paid out, there have been zero bodies have been exhumed to verify any of these ‘new’ claims of “possible remains of 200 children”. Still not verified. The Great Reset marches on with the Papal apology tour of 2022. Any comment on when he will spread the gospel of the Lord on this trip, remind little Justin that abortion is a sin, discuss le petit Ceasar ordering churches closed and arresting preachers?

    • Bill Roche says:

      I’ll give frank his due for pursuing a worthwhile goal. Good for him. Spanish, French, and English colonizers treated Indians horribly (Dutch never got b/y the Hudson Valley). Ultimately, there were far more French/English than Indians but I wonder about difference. How different was it for Canadian schools (this was done in N.E. and NY also) to take Indian children and turn them into whites (that’s what it was all about) then Indians capturing, adopting, and requickening young whites (and other Indians too) into their tribe. Wasn’t it exactly the same idea? Why give Indians a pass?
      The history of Indian relations in N.E., Pennsy, Va., was brutal. Stuck in tribal, they were killed by tribe. In ’79 I had dinner w/t manager of a paper mill in Millinocket Maine. He complained about Penobscot Indian challenges for “his” timber lands. “We stole that land from them fair and square and they aren’t getting it back now!” That was then, I wonder how it’s going today. My reading/research over the past couple of years informs me that Indians were people too. They were not all “noble savages, truthful, loyal and brave”. Some were good some bad. They lost a continent. The same story that’s been repeated all over the world.
      The Pope is doing the right thing, but I am through w/t guilt trips.

      • Fred says:


        “The Pope is doing the right thing, but I am through w/t guilt trips.”

        The Church already apologized. The Church already paid compensation. No appology will ever be enough when the grifters can shake the money tree every few years and get showered with millions. The marxists will never let you be free of guilt trips until they are driven from power or destroy the civilization in order to make it into their vision of utopia, with them in charge.

  4. JK/AR says:

    An apology tour huh?

    I thought he already got nominated back in February to get himself a Nobel peace prize.

  5. We are sincerely sorry for eliminating human sacrifice and cannibalism in the Americas.

  6. Leith says:

    Good on the Pope IMHO. Over a million US Native Americans are practicing Catholics. I would guess there are millions more in Canada plus Central and South America. Many are being lost to the faith by the inroads of the Pentecostals.

    The largest Catholic Cathedral in the US, Saint Patricks in Manhattan, which my grandfather’s immigrant, stonemason grandfather helped to build has main doors decorated with a sculpture representing the Mohawk Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The church needs more like her and Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Perhaps Pope Francis can speed up the process for other First Nations canonizations? Nicholas Black Elk, who fought Custer at the Little Big Horn, comes to mind. Seems to me like his background was similar to the founders of the Jesuits.

    BTW, the Protestant missionary schools where many American Indian children were forced to go to were no better and in some cases worse. I doubt you will find many of their leaders today apologizing for the past.

    PS – I agree with Steve on this issue despite our differences elsewhere.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Leith c’mon man! I d/n think this was a Protestant Catholic issue. Frank is doing the right thing and yes, it would be well if some Protestant leaders saluted him. But give me your thoughts on my earlier post re Indian adoption and requickening. Weren’t Indians doing the same thing. Of course on a different scale but the difference, what was the difference?

      • TTG says:

        Bill Roche,

        The practice of adopting captives from outside the tribe was fairly common among most Native American peoples. It wasn’t just the occasional white settler. It was not a practice designed to wipe out another tribe or entire culture.

        • Bill Roche says:

          Nor were the religious schools (RC in Canada and Protestant in N.E.) intended to wipe out an entire culture. The Indian practice was intended to increase the population of the recng tribe by a properly acculturated child. For sure the numbers were different, but I continue to see the objective as the same.

          • TTG says:

            Bill Roche,

            The residential school system was purposely set up to eliminate all aspects of Indigenous culture, to eliminate the Indian and save the soul.

          • Bill Roche says:

            TTG you have a kindred spirit in me. The horrors visited upon Indians from 1600 to 1890 were nothing short of genocide. Genocide! Our gov’t w/d well to admit that today. But what govt takes the blame for the years 1600 to 1800. Washington’s apmn’t of Sullivan to destroy Iriqouia was intended to kill as many as possible but, other than the Oneida, they asked for it. It disappoints me that NYS continues to fulk with the Oneida. But I think ur lost in the difference of numbers. My point is the action of capture, adoption, and requickening had the same purpose as the religious schools. ok w/disagree.

      • Leith says:

        Bill – D

        Agreed that it was not a Protestant Catholic issue. My family came from both sides of that split. They worked it out, so should we all.

        Adoption via kidnapping was to reinvigorate or give new blood to tribes that had been decimated. Or most often to gain a wife when you did not have the dowry of bride price. As you mention it was small scale.

  7. powderfinger1 says:

    Most religions are about controlling people, places and things. The scorpion apologizing for being a scorpion? I guess.

  8. Fourth and Long says:

    I can’t stand the state of religion these days. Drive through churches, con man evangelicals, a Catholic church whose ministries have brought disgrace upon disgrace, a Zionist state that is a Sparta on the Mediterranean and openly theologically supremacist. Proper Bible study was once a richness of commentary, reference and recommentary. Dogma is for dogs as Idolatry is for the idolater.

    My favorites were Matthew Henry and Rashi. Publishing a Bible without commentary is better than nothing but eventually insufficient.


    I. That they were all wicked, v. 4. Wickedness had become universal, and they were unanimous in any vile design. Here were old and young, and all from every quarter, engaged in this riot; the old were not past it, and the young had soon come up to it. Either they had no magistrates to keep the peace, and protect the peaceable, or their magistrates were themselves aiding and abetting. Note, When the disease of sin has become epidemical, it is fatal to any place, Isa. 1:5-7.

    II. That they had arrived at the highest pitch of wickedness; they were sinners before the Lord exceedingly (ch. 13:13); for, 1. It was the most unnatural and abominable wickedness that they were now set upon, a sin that still bears their name, and is called Sodomy. They were carried headlong by those vile affections (Rom. 1:26, 27), which are worse than brutish, and the eternal reproach of the human nature, and which cannot be thought of without horror by those that have the least spark of virtue and any remains of natural light and conscience. Note, Those that allow themselves in unnatural uncleanness are marked for the vengeance of eternal fire. See Jude 7. 2. They were not ashamed to own it, and to prosecute their design by force and arms. The practice would have been bad enough if it had been carried on by intrigue and wheedling; but they proclaimed war with virtue, and bade open defiance to it.

  9. cobo says:

    I was raised Catholic. My last time “in Church” was in 1979 with a million people in Phoenix Park in Dublin. Pope John Paul gave us Communion. He was my last Pope.

  10. Al says:

    Following my military service I got back into college and graduated with a BS majoring in cultural anthropology, intents on working with indigenous groups. Somehow after grad school, finishing with a MSW degree, I got a bit redirected into other work.

    Eventually, though, for about 20 yrs at the end of my administrative professional career working within a Midwest state’s child welfare program, I found myself professionally involved with two Native American tribal child welfare programs (foster care and adoption services). As such I attended many conferences held by various tribal groups. The recounting that I heard by elder tribal members regarding experiences in residential schools was chilling, pure evil treatment. The cascading effects into subsequent generations pronounced. The effects linger if even 100 yrs ago.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Al, if you are willing, say more. This is a deliberately (I think) hidden chapter of Indian relations. Wife and I took a vacation to the Amer S.W. back in the mid seventies. At one point I had to refer to the map (people still used them then). Looking about I wondered how could any one live here. Then my wife saw a sign “Hopi Indian Res.” Ok, we’re alright, stay on this road. I tumble weed blew by, it was really hot, the land was dry. I thought; America put the Indians here, to die. Americans today should know the truth. That’s just me.

      • different clue says:

        The American authorities did take many of the Tribes and Nations away from their land and put them somewhere else. But some Tribes were left in place and are still living right where they were from before the founding of America. The Hopi are one such. They have less land than they did, but where they are is where they have long been.

        They have developed plant types and methods for farming/gardening under hot dry conditions for centuries at least. A tribal member named Ahkima Honyumptewa has made a series of videos about various aspects of Hopi dry-farming which can be found here . . .

        Here is one of those videos . . . ” Ahkima. Planting White Corn ”
        as an example of the material covered and how it is covered.

    • TTG says:


      I don’t know whether studying cultural anthropology causes us to become a bunch of bleeding hearts or the field just attracts us. I was always enamored with the work of Louis B. Leakey and Jane Goodall. Paleontology was my first love, so I started in Geology figuring the drilling and mining industries could always use another geologist if the paleontology thing didn’t pan out. Then anthropology caught my eye. I also signed up for Army ROTC so I no longer had to worry about a post-college career. I dove into cultural anthropology and minored in psychology/ethology purely out of personal curiosity and interest. I did spend a few weeks with my advisor with the Lac La Loche band of Chipewyan in northern Saskatchewan. They were hunters/trappers by then. Good times.

      • Al says:

        TTG, I was initially a biology major. Then took an elective cultural anthro class that hooked me. Kind of a mystery as I came out of a very “white”, rural, family upbringing.

        My interests in diversity obviously passed on to my 3 offspring: oldest son was married for 5 yrs to college coed from Mexico, youngest son married to Chinese gal he met on Carribean island, daughter married to fine fellow from Guatemala who graduated from Okla St U. Now I have 3 beautifully ethnic mixed grandchildren

  11. Pat Lang says:

    That was an ad hominem attack against me and I am banning you for it. I know noting of any “death squads” in Central America.

  12. Al says:

    TTG, if you have not, do read the novel THREE DAY ROAD, by Joseph Boyden. The tale of the one who . “survived” of two Canadian Ojib-Cree who went into WWI as sharpshooters.

    In part inspired by the very real-life actions of WWI hero Ojibwa Francis Pegahmagabow….look him up!

  13. Al says:

    Francis Pegahmagabow: the highest decorated Canadian Native American in history. 378 confirmed kills as a sniper, among other actions he accomplished in “no man’s land” and rescues.

  14. Jovan P says:

    Colonel, if I remember correctly you once wrote about the Indians ,,it was us or them”. If you want, would you explain that thought in a few sentences?

    • Pat Lang says:

      Jovan P
      Social darwinism is tthe name of the real game. I wrote that of the competition for the land. That does not mean that they should have been treated as creatures to be exterminated and often they were not. One of my 9th great grandfathers was the colonial commander in the Pequot war of the 1630s. Most of his “troops” were Indians. This was a recurring pattern and to be fair it should be said that the Indians often gave as good as they get as in the sudden attack of Indians on the Jamestown settlement in 1622. Several hundred men, women and children were killed in one morning.

      • Fred says:


        A similar attack in what was once called New Amersterdam killed off a bunch of my relatives on the French side of the family.

  15. Al says:

    Having attended several Pow Wows on tribal lands, I found it remarkable how the events were always started off with honors to surviving tribal members who had served in the US military, the USA flag at the lead. The “warrors” front and center.

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