An apology is just words.

Pope Francis is in Canada this week to apologize to Indigenous peoples for abuses by missionaries at residential schools, a step in the Catholic Church’s efforts to reconcile with Native communities and help them heal from generations of trauma.

Is a person better than the worst thing they ever did? How about an institution? I think it depends on how bad the “worst” was, not on all the other “good” things you pile on the other end of the scale.

Oh, and this:

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 had called for a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil, but it was only after the 2021 discovery of the possible remains of around 200 children at the former Kamloops residential school in British Columbia that the Vatican mobilized to comply with the request.

“I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the discovery … and all the spotlight that was placed on the Oblates or the Catholic Church as well, I don’t think any of this would have happened,” said Raymond Frogner, head archivist at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Rev. Joannes Rivoire should be extradited from France, where he is avoiding a 1998 warrant for sex offenses committed committed while he “ministered” to Inuit communities. The priest has not had to answer for his crimes. Maybe the Pope could help Rivoire make this “pilgrimage.” An apology backed up with action.

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