Welby apologises for residential schools in Canada

(Photo: Global News Canada)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised to survivors of abusive at residential schools in Canada. 

Archbishop Justin Welby made the apology during a meeting with members of the James Smith Cree Nation, Chakastapaysin Band and the Peter Chapman Band in Saskatchewan.

He said he was "horrified" and "ashamed" to hear about the abuse they and other children had endured in the schools, Global News Canada reports.

"I am sorry. I am more sorry than I can say," Welby said.

"I am ashamed. I am horrified. I ask myself, where does that come from — that evil. It has nothing, nothing to do with Christ.

"It is the lowest, wickedest, most terrible thing to molest a child while you read them the Bible." 

Survivors have called for actions to match words. 

"Do what you're saying. Don't just say something and not do anything because that's most disheartening," said survivor Rhonda Sanderson. 

The Anglican Church ran dozens of residential schools across Canada between 1820 and 1969. 

Welby suggested it was up to the Anglican Church of Canada to take the lead in redressing the wrongs of the past. 

"The Anglican Church of Canada is the Anglican Church of Canada and I'm from overseas. It is not for me to interfere," he said. 

The Catholic Church has already apologised for the abuse that occurred in its residential schools. 

Over decades, children were forcibly removed from their Indigenous communities and sent to the schools in the name of cultural assimilation. 

Meeting delegations from Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, Pope Francis apologised and asked for forgiveness. 

"For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God's forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon," he said.