Speaking following a presentation by Dr Jean-Damascene Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), President Kagame said the Vatican owes an apology to the people of Rwanda over the Church’s clergy and ordinary members’ role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He said yesterday while ending the second session of 14th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) as he weighed in apology made by Catholic Church in other countries but on the case of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda still unconsidered.
“I don’t understand why the Pope would apologise for sexual offences, whether it is in the US, Ireland or Australia, but cannot apologise for the role of the Church in the Genocide that happened here,” Kagame said.
Last month, leaders of the Catholic Church in Rwanda apologised for the role played by some of its members in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi through a joint communiqué signed by nine bishops representing all the Church’s dioceses in the country.
The Government of Rwanda reacted to the bishops’ communiqué with a call for the Vatican to apologise for the Catholic Church’s “culpability in connection with the Genocide” and President Kagame reiterated the call yesterday.
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.”
Kigali authority 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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