A FURTHER two churches have been burned to the ground in Canada following the discovery of almost 200 more bodies on the grounds of a former Catholic-run residential school.
According to The Journal, 182 unmarked graves have been found at a third former indigenous residential school in Canada, the third such discovery in two months, bringing the number of bodies found in former Catholic-run schools to over 1,000.
The most recent discovery was made using ground-penetrating radar mapping, and the unmarked graves-- some as shallow as three feet deep-- are believed to contain the remains of children between the ages of 7 and 15.
The remains were found at the former St Eugene's Mission School near Cranbrook, British Columbia, which was operated by the Catholic Church from 1912 to the early 1970s.
Following the announcement of the discovery of 182 more children's bodies, two Catholic churches went up in flames under suspicious circumstances: The Morinville church in Alberta and the St Kateri Tekakwitha Church on Sipekne’katik First Nation grounds in Nova Scotia.
Both churches were built over a century ago, at the same time the residential schools to forcibly assimilate Native children into Canadian society were set up.
Royal Mounted Police told the AFP news network that they are treating the fire as "suspicious", but said that no direct link has officially been made between the fires and the continued discovery of children's bodies on the grounds Catholic-run schools.
The two newest fires brings to eight the number of churches which have been burned down in suspicious circumstances since the first discovery of hundreds of remains in June of this year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is himself a Catholic, last week apologised for the government policy which took children from their parents and forced them into schools where physical and sexual abuse were rampant.
He also called for the "destruction of places of worship" to stop, calling it "not acceptable".
"We must work together to right past wrongs," he said, adding "Everyone has a role to play.”
Earlier this month Mr Trudeau expressed anger that Pope Francis and the Catholic church had refused to apologise for their role in residential schools, saying he was "deeply disappointed by the position that the Catholic church has taken now and over the past many years."
The schools where the unmarked graves of hundreds of children are being uncovered were largely run by Catholic and Christian churches.
An estimated 150,000 of Canada's Indigenous children are believed to have passed through the institutions, forced to convert to Christian faiths and forbidden to speak their native language, facing brutal beatings if they did so.
The institutions operated until the 1970s.
The recent horror discoveries in Canada hold chilling parallels to Ireland's own Catholic Industrial schools and Mother and Baby Homes, where the bodies of hundreds of children and babies were found in unmarked graves.
The most notorious case saw the remains of up to 800 children found buried in a septic tank on the grounds of a former Mother & Baby home in Tuam, County Galway, but a report released earlier this year indicates that up to 9,000 babies died in the just 18 homes investigated across Ireland.