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Translation error behind Pope’s call for ‘investigation’ into residential schools

Pope called for “serious search,” not a “serious investigation”
Pope Francis delivers his apology to Indigenous people for the church’s role in residential schools as Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback looks on during a ceremony in Maskwacis, Alta., as part of his papal visit across Canada on Monday, July 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Organizers of the papal visit say the Vatican has “clarified” part of Pope Francis’s apology to residential school survivors, noting an error occurred during translation.

The pontiff’s words near Edmonton this week raised questions when he said an important part of moving past requesting forgiveness “will be to conduct a serious investigation into the facts of what took place.”

Francis was speaking Spanish and the apology was being translated into English.

Papal visit organizers say in a statement the Vatican “clarified” the English translation should have meant survivors heard the Pope say what’s needed next is a “serious search,” not a “serious investigation.”

Organizers say the Pope expressed a desire for Catholics to continue seeking out the truth and foster reconciliation.

They say Canadian bishops have also pledged to turn over documents that might help communities identify the remains of Indigenous children believed to be buried in unmarked graves at former school sites.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press