The catholic church has denied reports that a convicted priest who has served a 20 year term and released recently has been allowed to celebrate mass in the church. The priest in question is Ntimugura Laurent from Cyangugu diocese who was reported to have joined other priests to celebrate mass after his release.
Ntimugura was convicted of genocide crimes and sentenced to 20 years which he served and released on 10th September, 2016.
Talking to IGIHE, the Bishop of Cyangugu diocese, Jean Damascène Bimenyimana has said that he received priest Ntimugura Laurent as a person who served in Cyangugu parish before he was convicted but denied claims that he celebrates mass.
“For those saying to have seen him serving on Altar, in which parish did people see him celebrating mass? Do you think I will reject a priest who comes to me? I can’t let a released person wander about. A priest is a servant of the diocese and the bishop can’t dismiss him regardless of his character. We live together with that priest at our headquarters. I haven’t assigned him,” he said.
When asked whether Ntimugura will be commissioned in future, Bishop Bimenyimana said; “We will assess that. But as of now, he is not deployed. He is not celebrating mass in any parish. What people say is not true.”
The spokesperson of Catholic Church in Rwanda and the bishop of Butare diocese Philippe Rukamba has told IGIHE that priest Ntimugura has not yet been assigned any duties.
“He may celebrate the mass as an individual, but not allowed to do so in public since the bishop has not yet assigned him,” he said.
He explained that the released priest may be taken to the church’s court if some people still have accusations against him.
“It is possible that he may be summoned in Catholic Church canonical court after assessing crimes he was alleged to have committed in case relatives of victims of the people he allegedly killed do petition,” said bishop Rukamba.