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Trudeau, Sophie meet Pope Francis briefly at Vatican

30 May 2017

The bishops of Saskatchewan, Indigenous leaders and civic authorities have invited Pope Francis to visit the province in 2018 or '19 to offer an official apology.

"He reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world", Trudeau told reporters.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau meet with Pope Francis for a private audience at the Vatican on Monday, May 29, 2017.

The commission included the demand for a papal apology - to survivors, their families and communities - as one of the 94 recommendations in its report on the dark history and legacy of residential schools. So the new potential for a papal apology gives a much-needed boost to the government as it tries to make headway on its Indigenous goals.

Since his election in 2013, Francis has apologized on behalf of the Church to victims of sexual assault, persecuted Protestants in northern Italy and indigenous peoples of South America for the complicity of The Church in their oppression during the colonial conquests.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were "cordial". "The parties then focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical events".

Trudeau met with The Pope at the Vatican on Sunday where they discussed reconciliation efforts between the Catholic Church and groups marginalized by Canada's residential schools. That statement of regret was accepted but it was not a full apology, Mr. Fontaine said.

In its report, the commission recommended the Catholic Church issue a formal apology for its part in the residential school system.

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The Anglican, Presbyterian and United churches, which also ran residential schools, have already apologized to the survivors.

Some 150,000 aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families, and sent to live in church-run boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their language or practise their own culture.

He added that he stressed to the pope "how he could help by issuing an apology".

A spokesperson said Trudeau had a private drink with former prime minister Matteo Renzi on Monday evening.

Mr. Trudeau said he thanked the Pope for his global leadership on the environment during their private discussions in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

The Pope gave Trudeau the gold medallion minted for the fourth year of his pontificate (2016-17), which features an "embrace" as "a symbol of forgiveness, joy and mutual acceptance", according to the Vatican's description.

Trudeau, who is Catholic, says he gave the Pope a set of rare Jesuit Relations books, as well as a Montagnais-French dictionary penned by a 17th-century French Jesuit.

Trudeau, Sophie meet Pope Francis briefly at Vatican