ACCUC Acknowledges Pope’s Apology as Step towards Truth and Reconciliation
In a formal statement released today, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) recognized the apology Pope Francis extended to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples on April 1, 2022, specifically addressing the conduct of some members of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada’s residential school system. The Pope’s message expressing sorrow and pardon for the suffering inflicted by some members of the Catholic Church, came following a week of talks with Canadian First Nations, Inuit, and Métis delegations at the Vatican. The ACCUC group response represents Roman Catholic institutions of higher education located across all parts of Canada. ACCUC acts as the official voice for Catholic higher learning in Canada, as it seeks to spread “the spirit of learning” throughout the country. The current chair of the ACCUC is St. Jerome’s University’s President and Vice Chancellor, Peter Meehan.
“Members of the ACCUC recognize that this is a crucial step towards the goal of Truth and Reconciliation,” stated Meehan, adding that while the Pope’s apology will not undo the trauma experienced by Indigenous communities, members of the ACCUC remain positive in the spirit of prayerful and hopeful anticipation.
The Pope’s apology included feelings of “shame and indignation” for the abuses suffered and the lack of respect shown for Indigenous identity, culture, and spiritual values. He expressed deep grief from the stories of the suffering, hardship, discrimination, and various forms of abuse that some had experienced, particularly in the residential schools. At the end of his message Pope Francis also said that he would be happy to visit them in their native lands.
The statement by the ACCUC confirmed that Roman Catholic institutions of higher education also look forward to Pope Francis’s promised visit to Canada, to offer his apology to Indigenous Peoples in person. To read the full statement from the ACCUC visit the group’s website. The following is a link to Pope Francis’s remarks and apology provided by CBC News.