The priests while paying tribute to 1994 genocide victims at Mukarange in 2012
The Government of Rwanda notes the recent initiative of Rwanda’s nine Catholic bishops to apologise, in a general manner, for some of the acts committed by some members of the Catholic Church during the Genocide against the Tutsi but still describe it inadequate.
A statement on Wednesday by the ministry of local governance said whereas it recognised the apology issued by the church’s Episcopal Council, which was read after mass on Sunday, it failed to explicitly express remorse.
“This step is welcome, as individual expressions of remorse. However, its profound inadequacy only serves to highlight how far the Catholic Church still remains from a full and honest reckoning with its moral and legal responsibilities,” the government’s statement reads.
Rwanda and the Roman Catholic Church continue to disagree on the church’s role in the massacre that saw hundreds of thousands killed.
The Sunday post-mass apology saying, “Forgive us for the crime of hate in the country to the extent of also hating our colleagues because of their ethnicity. We didn’t show that we are one family but instead killed each other. Forgive us for the crimes committed by priests and nuns and church leadership that promoted ethnic divisionism and hate,” in the statement read in parishes across the country.
According to the government, the apology was inadequate: “First, as they apologise on behalf of a few unnamed individuals, the bishops appear to take the extraordinary step of exonerating the Catholic Church as a whole for any culpability in connection with the Genocide. Everything in the historical record contradicts this divisive claim.”
“Second, it is regrettable that some priests apparently declined to read the bishops’ message to parishioners as intended, thus disassociating themselves from even this mild expression of regret.”
Kigali has also been pushing the church to strip and excommunicate its clergy found guilty of abetting killings, but the latter remains adamant on the matter saying priests can only be discharged from service but retain their titles.
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