The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) has welcomed Pope Francis apology on behalf of Catholic Church and its members for involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi but say they find the message lacking in pointing out those continuing to trivialize genocide.
Pope Francis made the apology yesterday as president Kagame was in Vatican for one day visit.
Talking to RBA, the executive secretary of CNLG, Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana has appreciated the efforts of apologizing for the entire church saying it is different from what Rwanda bishops did last year.
“It is a commendable step by the Pope because from 1996 Pope John Paul II had requested Catholic Church in Rwanda and individual accomplices of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi to plead guilty and apologize,” he said.
“That is the first great step of accepting that the church turned against its flock and some clergy participated in genocide,” he added.
Dr Bizimana has explained that the apology of Pope Francis reflects that the courts decisions of convicting members of the Catholic Church for complicity in genocide were not biased.
The convicts include father Seromba Athanase handed a life sentence, nuns from Sovu tried in Belgium among others.
It is twenty one years since Pope John Paul II requested clerics to individually apologize for their participation in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Dr Bizimana explained that Catholic Church in Rwanda and abroad protected genocidaires such as Father Munyeshyaka shielded by Church in France.
He explained that the apology of Pope Francis differs from the one of Pope Jean Paul II for having accepted that the church as a community turned against its responsibilities.
Bizimana explained that the apology from Pope Francis depicts him as a fair and vigilant person knowing the role of Catholic Church in genocide especially the deeds of Bishop Class and Father Perraudin who spread writings of hatred on behalf of the church.
He noted that Pope Francis apology is, however, wanting because he didn’t talk on clerics undermining and denying genocide perpetrated against Tutsi yet such acts are equivalent to genocide.
- The executive secretary of CNLG, Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana