Pope Francis to Visit Canada

29 October 2021

Pope Francis has accepted the invitation extended by the Catholic Bishops of Canada to visit Canada on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Below, Archbishop Richard Smith reflects on what this visit means. 

For more information, please see: 

The statement released by the Vatican 

The statement released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops 

The Archdiocese of Edmonton's article describing the preparations underway for this historic visit. 

Regarding the Pope's visit to Canada, as President Flynn noted in a Sept 30th letter to the community:

“Living the story of sin and forgiveness is not easy, but it is the gospel. If we think residential schools are not our problem, we have sinned in refusing truth. If in our words we ignore or diminish Indigenous communities, we have sinned. If in our actions we are indifferent to the experience of intergenerational trauma, we have sinned. If we approach the plight of Indigenous suffering with apathy, we have sinned. . . It is in this spirit that a papal apology is desperately needed. . .These must be authentic apologies, that acknowledge the role the church has played in the pain and suffering of Indigenous communities.”