Then whydja do it?

The pope has said sorry about those residential schools.

Pope Francis issued a historic apology Monday for the Catholic Church’s cooperation with Canada’s “catastrophic” policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations in ways still being felt today.

“I am sorry,” Francis said, to applause from school survivors and Indigenous community members gathered at a former residential school south of Edmonton, Alberta, the first event of Francis’ weeklong “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada.

The morning after he arrived in the country, Francis traveled to the lands of four Cree nations to pray at a cemetery. Four chiefs then escorted the pontiff in his wheelchair to powwow ceremonial grounds where he delivered the long-sought apology and was given a feathered headdress.

All very nice, no doubt, but what I want to know is, how does he explain this to himself? And then to Catholics in general? And then to the rest of us?

The church is the church. It tells us what to do, not the other way around. It’s supposed to be holy, and good, and right about everything. It’s not supposed to be blundering around making horrible mistakes like the rest of us.

So how did it get this so hideously wrong? Why did its people treat those children so cruelly? And while we’re on the subject how did it get the Magdalen laundries so wrong? And the Irish industrial schools and mother and baby homes? Why were nuns and priests so notoriously cruel to children and women and poor people? Why did the church protect rapey child-abusing priests decade after decade? And why, in light of all that, is Francis pope? Why does he stick with the evil institution? What does he even mean by apologizing?

None of it makes any kind of sense.

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