Canadians line Quebec streets to greet Pope Francis

STORY: The Pope travelled in his popemobile, waving at onlookers and even picking up babies.

After arriving in Quebec, Pope Francis met on Wednesday with Canada's political leaders, a largely diplomatic pause from the main purpose of his trip - apologising for the Church's role in running residential schools where abuse was rife.

Earlier this week, the Pontiff said the Roman Catholic Church should accept institutional blame for the harm done to indigenous Canadians in residential schools that tried to wipe out native cultures.

More than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools over the years. Many were starved or beaten for speaking their native languages and sexually abused in a system that Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide."

On Thursday, Francis will visit the Sanctuary of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, the oldest Catholic pilgrimage site in North America, and meet the archbishop of Quebec, Canada's largely French-speaking province, in the Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral.

On his way back to Rome on Friday, he will stop for a few hours in Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic, where indigenous issues will return to the fore.

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