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Toronto archbishop says Trudeau’s comments ‘unfair’ about Church, residential schools

Memorial at Toronto's Queens Park for the 215 Indigenous children who were found at a former residential school in B.C. Gord Edick / Global News

TORONTO — The Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto took aim at Justin Trudeau this morning following comments from the Prime Minister about the Catholic Church’s role in Canadian residential schools.

Cardinal Thomas Collins said in an interview today he felt Trudeau’s comments that the Catholic Church needed to “step up” and take responsibility for its role in residential schools were “unhelpful” and “not based on real facts.”

Read more: Catholic Church needs to ‘take responsibility’ for residential schools, Trudeau says

Trudeau made the remarks on Friday, calling on Catholic officials to release records from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia where an unmarked burial site is believed to contain the remains of 215 Indigenous children.

Trudeau also said he asked Pope Francis in 2017 to apologize for the Church’s role in the schools, and that Canadians are still waiting for that apology.

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READ MORE: Catholic church’s ‘lack of commitment’ to share residential school records under scrutiny

Collins says the remarks are unfair, noting that Pope Benedict XVI apologized in 2009 to a delegation from Canada’s Assembly of First Nations for the abuse experienced by children in residential schools and called their treatment “deplorable.”

Collins says the Church has been working continuously toward reconciliation with Indigenous people and invited Ottawa to be a part of those ongoing efforts.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says he’s ‘deeply disappointed’ in Catholic Church for refusing to apologize for residential schools' Trudeau says he’s ‘deeply disappointed’ in Catholic Church for refusing to apologize for residential schools
Trudeau says he’s ‘deeply disappointed’ in Catholic Church for refusing to apologize for residential schools – Jun 4, 2021

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