Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has welcomed a call by Pope Benedict XVI for the Australian government to "seek forgiveness" from the Aboriginal people as a path to reconciliation.
The archbishop said Tuesday he was pleased the Pope spoke about the "international shame" of Australia's treatment of Aboriginal people. The Pope reportedly told Australia's new ambassador to the Vatican, Anne Marie Plunkett, that her government should seek forgiveness from Aboriginal people and open the way to lasting reconciliation.
It was believed to be the first time the Pope has spoken of the plight of Australian aborigines.
Archbishop Hickey was chairman of the Australian Catholic bishops’ Commission for Relations with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. The archbishop urged all citizens to form relationships with Aboriginal people.