Skip to comments.Pope admits Catholic priests took part in Rwandan genocide and begs forgiveness over church's role
Posted on 03/20/2017 4:31:10 PM PDT by Jyotishi
The Pontiff acknowledges that members of the clergy "succumbed to hatred and violence" as Rwandan government accuses Church of still protecting the guilty.
Caption -- Pope Francis has apologised for the Catholic Church's role in the Rwandan genocide (Photo: Getty)
Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness for the "sins and failings of the Church" during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, saying he hoped his apology would help heal the African state's wounds.
But Rwanda's government indicated it felt the apology did not go far enough, saying the local Church was still complicit in protecting the perpetrators of the genocide.
At a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Pope Francis said that priests and Roman Catholic faithful had taken part in the slaughter of some 800,000 people from the ethnic Tutsi minority as well as moderates from the Hutu majority.
"(The pope) implored anew God's forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence," the Vatican said in a statement.
Caption -- Members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in front of the skulls of several hundred Tutsi civilians (Photo: Reuters)
An official Rwandan statement repeated the government's long-standing accusation of Catholic complicity in the massacres.
"Today, genocide denial and trivialisation continue to flourish in certain groups within the Church and genocide suspects have been shielded from justice within Catholic institutions ," said a government statement.
Kagame, a Tutsi, led a rebel force to halt the slaughter in 1994 and accusations immediately surfaced that some priests and nuns had taken part in the killings.
Some of the ugliest massacres were committed in churches, missions and parishes where Tutsis who took shelter were hunted down by extremist Hutu militias.
Caption -- Pope Francis with the Rwandan president Paul Kagame and his wife Jeannette Nyiramongi during an audience at the Apostrolic Palace (Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
A U.N. court in 2006 jailed a former Catholic priest for 15 years for ordering bulldozers to level a church, killing 2,000 people who were hiding inside.
Rwandan authorities have said other clergy implicated in the killings were allowed to start new lives in Europe and were protected by the Church.
A Rwandan military court sentenced a missing priest in absentia to life in prison on charges of rape and delivering Tutsi refugees from his church to militias who killed them.
Later arrested in France, where he was a popular priest in a rural parish, his case was eventually dropped and he was allowed to remain working at the parish. He has denied the charges.
Caption -- Pope Francis exchanges gifts with President Kagame (Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
The Catholic Church in Rwanda last year offered an apology, saying some of its members had fanned the ethnic hatred that led to the killings, but Kagame said at the time that he wanted the pope himself to say sorry.
"Why doesn't he apologise like he does with other cases where more minor crimes were committed by comparison with here?," he said, referring to sexual abuse cases where the pope has regularly apologised to victims and their families.
Francis said on Monday he hoped his "humble recognition of the failings of that period, which, unfortunately, disfigured the face of the Church, may contribute to a 'purification of memory' and may promote, in hope and renewed trust, a future of peace".
In a manner reminiscent of Ghenghis Kahn... If the Mongols were responding to having first been targeted by slaughtering Muslims.
This idiot hates Catholicism so much he should move to dissolve the whole religion.
WE WANT REPARATIONS !
1) It’s been known since it happened that there were priests who did things like not defend those who sought refuge in churches. It should be noted that there were priests who DID do the right thing and no one ever talks about them.
2) No pope need apologize for the failings of bishops and priests in Rwanda. The pope of the time, John Paul II, did NOT cause the massacre and condemned it. Both perps and victims were largely Catholics by the way.
The local native clergy, many got caught up in the intense ethnic mania.
In exactly the same way that the Yazidi women of today have been “caught up in ethnic mania” as you so quaintly term Islamic genocide.
At the time, most Americans were too I’ll informed to perceive the influence Islam had on the genesis of the massacre. Evidently many still are.
Have you seen any documentation on what happened to the priests who fled to other countries after the genocide? Were they removed from the church or tried?
His “fundamental transformation” of the Roman Catholic Church is proceeding very nicely.