Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada with an aim to help the reconciliation process with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

The trip is in light of the shocking revelations of the Catholic church’s role in the abuse and deaths of thousands of Indigenous children.

The Vatican issued a brief statement on Wednesday saying Francis “has indicated his willingness to visit the country on a date to be settled in due course.”

The Pope has not issued a formal apology for the Church’s role, which both the Indigenous leaders and prime minister Justin Trudeau are hoping for.

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, RoseAnne Archibald said Francis needs to acknowledge the Church’s role in the abuse.

“I’ll welcome Pope Francis when he arrives… to issue a long overdue apology to survivors and intergenerational trauma survivors,” she said.

“The Catholic church must be accountable and acknowledge their responsibility for implementing and running these institutions of assimilation and genocide.”

Francis had already agreed to meet with an Indigenous delegation in December to talk to Indigenous survivors of Canada’s residential schools.

Indigenous leaders said the papal apology is crucial to even begin reconciliation in the country.

First Nation Chief, Cadmus Delorme said “an apology is the beginning”.

“An apology is required, and the rebuilding of a relationship would follow the apology,” he said.

The date of the papal visit has not yet been announced.

By Teisha Cloos