Pope Francis Requests Prayers As He Prepares For Trip To Canada
Pope Francis delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter' Square at the Vatican on July 17, 2022.

Pope Francis asked for prayers on Sunday as he prepared for a trip to Canada later this month, during which he plans to apologize to indigenous groups for abuses in the past by the Catholic Church.

Francis shared the request during his public message in St. Peter’s Square ahead of his seven-day trip to Canada scheduled to begin July 24.

“Next Sunday, God willing, I will leave for Canada; therefore, I wish now to address all the people of that country,” Francis said. “Dear brothers and sisters of Canada, as you know, I will come among you especially in the name of Jesus to meet and embrace the indigenous peoples.”

The pope added that past actions, including those by “many Christians,” have harmed indigenous people groups in Canada.

“Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities in various ways,” he shared.

Francis also asked others to “accompany me with prayers” as he prepared for his journey. The trip’s itinerary is expected to include visits to the cities of Edmonton, Quebec, and Iqaluit.

More than 150,000 native children in Canada were forced to attend Christian schools from the 19th century until the 1970s, according to the Associated Press.

Francis has postponed other recent trips due to knee problems but is determined to make the journey across the Atlantic Ocean “God willing.” The physical difficulties had led to rumors of the Pope retiring in the near future, though he has pushed back against the speculation.

Pope Francis also made headlines recently over a Univision interview during which he claimed that President Joe Biden’s claim to be Catholic yet support abortion is “incoherent.” The Catholic Church’s teachings oppose abortion.

“A month after conception, the DNA of the fetus is already there and the organs are aligned. There is human life,” the pope said during the interview. “Is it just to eliminate a human life?”

Francis referred Biden to speak to his spiritual advisors regarding the church’s understanding of the issue of human life in the womb.

“I leave it to [President Biden’s] conscience and that he speaks to his bishop, his pastor, his parish priest about that incoherence,” the Pope added.

The statement is part of a larger concern over self-identified Catholic Democrats who have supported abortion rights, especially following the June 24 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and returned decisions regarding abortion laws to states.

In addition to Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came under criticism for taking communion while visiting the Vatican City despite her pro-abortion advocacy. Communion was not officiated by the pope, but rather by another church leader.

The Associated Press reported that Pelosi met with Francis before the Mass and received his blessing.

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