As the Papal visit to Canada is winding down Pope Francis offered a second apology on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking in Quebec City, Francis expressed shame and sorrow for the role Catholic institutions played in the residential school system.

Francis asked for forgiveness for the harm done by policies of assimilation carried out in the schools.

“In that deplorable system promoted by the governmental authorities of the time, which separated many children from their families, different local Catholic institutions had a part,” said Francis.  “For this reason, I express my deep shame and sorrow, and, together with the bishops of this country, I renew my request for forgiveness for the wrong done by so many Christians to the Indigenous peoples.”

Prime Minister and Governor General offer their take

Before the papal address on Wednesday both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon spoke.

Trudeau said for years survivors of residential schools have been calling on the pope to apologize.

“Apologies for the role that the Roman Catholic Church, as an institution, played in the mistreatment on the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse that Indigenous children suffered in residential schools run by the church,” said the Prime Minister.

Governor General Mary Simon said “reconciliation is a grace that must be earned”, calling for more concrete action following the apologies.

“Indeed, we look forward to hearing more of the church’s future actions to continue this essential work,” said Simon.

Reactions to apologies mixed

With only a few days left on the Papal visit, with Francis now offering two apologies, the reaction to his pleas for forgiveness have been mixed.

Many residential school survivors have spoken in appreciation of the pope’s words of sorrow and say it is a step forward in their healing journey and reconciliation.

However, others have pointed to what has not been addressed as cause for concern.  So far in his addresses in Canada Pope Francis has not yet addressed the Doctrine of Discovery, the return of Indigenous artifacts, or the sexual abuse experienced by many at residential schools.  Others have also expressed mixed feelings about the pope being presented with an Indigenous headdress following his address in Alberta on Monday.

Canada’s Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller called the lack of acknowledgement of the sexual abuse experiences in residential schools a “gap” in the pope’s apology.

Two days left in the papal visit

Pope Francis will now remain in Quebec on Thursday.

He will hold a mass at the shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre before he will then attend vespers with church officials at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame.

On Friday, Francis will travel up north for a meeting with Indigenous people in Iqaluit before heading home.

(PHOTO: A screenshot of CPAC coverage of the papal address on Wednesday)