Pope Francis receives Uluru Statement from the Heart

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has been given a copy of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in St Peter’s Square, Rome.

The Pope was presented with the statement by Gweagal woman Theresa Ardler on National Sorry Day, May 26, ahead of Reconciliation Week.

Ardler was invited to meet the pontiff and act as an interpreter during a 15-minute meeting with the Pope and Chiara Porro, Australia’s ambassador to the Holy See.

As a First Nations Australian and a Catholic, Ardler – whose traditional lands include Botany Bay in Sydney – described it as an honour to present the statement to the Pope. She added that his “warm response felt like a big milestone for the Uluru Statement.”

Ardler, who is also a campaigner for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice to the Australian Parliament, was in Italy to speak at an event at Australian Catholic University’s Rome campus.

At the end of the meeting, the Pope apparently opted to hold the Uluru statement for a group photo.

The Pope’s acceptance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart was followed by a united declaration of support for it by leaders of major faiths in Australia. These religious leaders came together in Sydney on May 27 to launch a Joint Resolution calling for a constitutionally guaranteed First Nations voice.