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
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
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.