ROTHENBURGER: The pope’s apology and the question of unmarked graves

POPE FRANCIS FACES A TALL ORDER after he arrives in Canada tomorrow for what he describes as a “penitential pilgrimage.” Job One during his week-long visit is a second apology for the Catholic church’s role in residential schools. That apology is expected to come Monday at the former Ermineskin Residential School in Alberta.

The apology won’t be without controversy. Finding the right words to please everyone will be a challenge. While a great many look forward to the apology, some say it will do little good if it’s not backed up with action. Some say his visit is too little, too late. Some say it’s too soon. Some say he shouldn’t come at all.

Some of those in the “too soon” category say the apology should wait until after exhumation work is done at the Kamloops residential school. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc intends to carry out such work, though there’s no timeline.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9510 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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