Call to Action # 58

We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada. 


July 25, 2022: Pope Francis delivered his apology in Maskwacis, Alberta on Treaty Six territory on the site of the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School. The Pope did not apologize for the Roman Catholic Church as an institution nor did he renounce the Doctrine of Discovery that 500+ years ago initiated the pillaging of Indigenous lands and genocide of Indigenous people throughout the world. Other issues:

  • No acknowledgements of sexual abuse in the schools
  • No mention of acts of atonement or reparation
  • No mention of return of Indigenous artifacts held in Vatican museum
  • Access to residential school records held in Church archives

April 1, 2022 – Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates including residential school survivors for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system in Canada: “I am very sorry.” The Pope is expected to come to Canada forJuly 26, 2021

Sept. 24, 2021: The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a “Statement of Apology” in an open letter and also pledged to work with the Holy See and our Indigenous partners on the possibility of a pastoral visit by the Pope to Canada as part of this healing journey.

Current Status

December 2, 2022


Previous Status

October 16, 2022

In Progress

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Actions and Commitments

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Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Pope Francis apology

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Indigenous plans for pope’s visit

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Timelines for Pope’s Apology

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Background Content

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Indigenous leader comments after Pope’s apology

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Indigenous comments after Pope Francis meetings in Rome

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