Justin Trudeau Meets Pope Francis At Vatican To Discuss Indigenous Reconciliation

Photos courtesy of National Post/Twitter

It’s believed the prime minister requested that the pontiff issue a formal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.

Although it’s unclear what passed behind closed doors between the prime minister and the pope during the 30-minute private meeting at the Vatican, Trudeau was expected to broach the subject of a reconciliation between the Catholic Church and Canada’s indigenous peoples.

It’s believed that Trudeau requested that Pope Francis issue a formal apology—on Canadian soil—for the church’s controversial role in the residential school system.

Photo: National Post/Twitter

In 2008, former prime minister Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government, although he never brought up the issue during his 10-minute audience with Pope Francis two years ago.

The previous pope, Benedict XVI, expressed “sorrow” on behalf of the Catholic Church in 2009, calling attention to the “deplorable conduct” of certain members of the church in their treatment of indigenous children. However, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report claimed the acknowledgement was not enough as the statement was not made in public.

During their Vatican meeting this morning, Trudeau gifted Pope Francis with a rare set of Jesuit Relations books, which include references to the origins of Canada. The prime minister also presented the pope with a 17th century Montagnais-French dictionary written by a French Jesuit.

As a token of appreciation, Pope Francis handed Trudeau a gold medal marking the fourth year of his pontificate, along with an autographed copy of his message for World Peace Day.