Church Apologies and Reconciliation (58-61)

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Current Reality

All Church Parties to the Truth and Reconciliation Settlement Agreement have issued formal apologies from their leadership for their policies and actions that led to the abuses experienced by students at the church-run residential schools as documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church finally delivered an official apology in Canada on July 25, 2022

Church Apology Description
United Church August, 1986


For over-all dismissal of Indigenous spiritual beliefs

Specifically, to residential school survivors for the church’s role

Anglican Church August, 1993

July 12, 2019

To residential school survivors for physical, emotional and sexual abuse

For harm inflicted through cultural and spiritual arrogance

Presbyterian Church 1994 For its role in residential school system
Roman Catholic Church July 25, 2022 For actions of individual “children” of the Church (priests, nuns and other christians); not for the actions of the Catholic Church as an institution

The Catholic Church was also the only one of the four Church Parties to the Settlement Agreement who failed in their efforts to raise funds for Indigenous reconciliation programs and services. All others were successful.

Each of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement have made commitments to ongoing education activities within their respective congregations and institutions and all have all agreed to respect and honour Indigenous spirituality. Schools of Theology and Seminaries are making progress.

Pope Francis Apology

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.

April 1, 2022 –  Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates including residential school survivors for the For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness.”. “I am very sorry.” Not the role of the Catholic Church itself but individual members of the church.

Sept. 24, 2021: Global News – In an open letter, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) expressed their “profound remorse” for their participation in the system, which led to the suppression of Indigenous languages and culture. “We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual,” the letter reads… the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally. The CCCB pledges 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.

1/4 CTAs have been completed to date


Apology from the pope to Catholic Church residential school survivors



Develop ongoing education strategies teach impacts of colonization



Develop and teach curriculum on Aboriginal spirituality, history and culture

In Progress


Allocate permanent funding for healing, language and reconciliation projects

In Progress

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