From July 24-29, 2022, Pope Francis will be visiting Canada. During the trip, the Pope is set to deliver an apology on Canadian soil for the involvement of Catholic dioceses and religious orders in the operation of residential schools from the 1870s through the 1990s.
Residential schools were established under a federal government program which was intended to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture, and equip them with the education and skills deemed necessary to participate in Canada’s economic and social life.
In anticipation of the Holy Father’s visit, this episode explores Indigenous reconciliation and ministry, major themes and challenges from Pope Francis’ pontificate, and whether Canada has a unique contribution to make to the Church’s mission in the 21st century.
Along the way, we take some scenic detours, including reminiscing about the last time a pope visited Canada for the occasion of World Youth Day in 2002, and reminding ourselves of the importance of continuously building communities of faith.
Our guest is John Paul Meenan, Assistant Professor of Theology at Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. John Paul was the co-founder of the small academic community which eventually became Seat of Wisdom College. He's also the Editor in Chief of the online magazine Catholic Insight.
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John Paul Meenan biography (Seat of Wisdom College): https://www.seatofwisdom.ca/academics/faculty-2/jpmeenan/
“Pope Francis in Canada” (official webpage for the papal visit): https://www.papalvisit.ca
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Brief History of Indian Residential Schools”: https://www.cccb.ca/indigenous-peoples/resources/indian-residential-schools-truth-reconciliation-commission/
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Statement of Apology by the Catholic Bishops of Canada to the Indigenous Peoples of This Land” (September 24, 2021): https://www.cccb.ca/letter/statement-of-apology-by-the-catholic-bishops-of-canada-to-the-indigenous-peoples-of-this-land/
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Visit 2002”: https://www.cccb.ca/the-catholic-church-in-canada/papal-visits-canada/john-paul-iis-third-visit-canada-july-2002/
Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes (July 16, 2021): https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/documents/20210716-motu-proprio-traditionis-custodes.html
Catholic Insight magazine: https://catholicinsight.com/
Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.