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Catholic Church Admits Genocide Apology not Sufficient

by Dan Ngabonziza
3:12 pm

Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege says a prayer at Kwibuka 21

Amid unrelenting backlash, the Catholic Church of Rwanda has admitted the apology it issued for individual priests over the 1994 genocide, did not go far enough.

In November this year, the Roman Catholic Church of Rwanda issued a letter which was distributed in some of its Churches, where bishops apologized on behalf of the church members who participated in the genocide.

The letter, which strongly distanced the Church from the genocide, received mixed reactions from Rwandans.

During the recently concluded National Umushyikirano Council, Monsignor  Philipe Rukamba, the President of Episcopal Council said, “I have never seen any letter with the church telling its children to go and commit genocide. We thought the way we formulated the apology makes sense.”

He cemented that the Church apologized for its members who committed the Genocide but it did not lay any dirty hand in the crime.

In reciprocal reactions from Rwandans, President Kagame was the last to nail it saying the Church’s apology was not enough.

The president said he does not understand how the Pope would apologize for petty crimes committed by Catholic officials elsewhere and ignore the Genocide.

Addressing the mass in Kabgayi Diocese on Christmas day, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege announced the Church takes with seriousness the concerns raised by Rwandans including top government officials, and considers revising its position.

“The Catholic Church respects the reactions from Rwandans,”Mbonyintege told the mass, adding that: “I thank all members of the Church who took time to understand (apology letter) it. Despite mixed reactions to the letter in which some were more serious, we did not ignore them. We take them serious.”

The bishop of Kabgayi Diocese continued that through peaceful dialogues, the Church accepts to amend the letter and add what the public found missing.

Mbonyintege reaffirmed that the Catholic Church is committed to support Rwanda’s development agenda.