Pope Francis is wiser, better and presumably grateful now that Justin Trudeau has bestowed a visit upon him. At least so I gather from the Canadian media coverage.
Before they even met Monday, I read much commentary about what our prime minister would tell the Pope, including calling him on the carpet over Canada’s legacy of residential schools. It struck me as odd that a congregant in a great, venerable and hierarchical faith would meet with its head in order not to learn but to instruct, to preach the sermon not listen to it. But apparently, I’m the weirdo.
Before the meeting, one media outlet said, “The prime minister will ask the pontiff to issue a formal apology in Canada for the role of the Catholic Church in the residential school system … The PM and Pope will also discuss the Catholic community in Canada, and the global fight against climate change.”
It struck me as odd that Trudeau would meet with the head of his religion in order not to learn but to instruct; to preach the sermon rather than to listen to it
Another said, “Trudeau is to visit the Vatican on Monday for a private audience with Pope Francis. The prime minister is expected to press the pontiff to offer an apology to Canada’s Indigenous community for how they were treated at residential schools run by the Roman Catholic Church. According to an official from the Prime Minister’s Office … Trudeau is also likely to raise climate change, diversity and the need to bring together different religious communities and leaders so they can better understand each other.” Lucky Pope. About time someone mentioned better understanding among faiths to him.
Post-meeting stories followed the same script: “Trudeau asks Pope for apology.” The prime minister emerged to tell reporters that the Pope seemed open to an apology. “He reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world,” Trudeau said, though according to the Canadian Press, he “pointed out he could not compel the pontiff to agree.” The prime minister allowed that, on some issues, the Pope is already sufficiently enlightened to agree with him, like climate change. So not an entirely unpromising pupil. And the CBC quoted Trudeau as saying that, “I also had an opportunity to have a deeply personal and wide-ranging, thoughtful conversation with the leader of my own faith.”