IBUKA, the umbrella of genocide survivors has expressed concern over the celebration of silver jubilee of two Kabgayi priests convicted of genocide that may take place on 16th July, 2016.
The bishop of Kagbayi diocese, Smaragde Mbonyintege has said that they can’t celebrate the jubilee of priests convicted of genocide crimes. He has unveiled a plan to apologize on behalf of catholic priests who participated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Ahishakiye Nephtal, the executive secretary of IBUKA has talked on the recently circulated list of priests whose silver jubilee will be celebrated including two priests convicted of genocide crimes.
Kabgayi diocese led by bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege denies to have released the list while Ahishakiye confirms it was designed by Catholic Church.
“ We usually receive invitations from various dioceses.The recent invitation of ordaining the new bishop was not signed.The invitation and the day are organized by Kabgayi diocese,” said Ahishakiye talking to Radio KFM.
The circulated list prompted IBUKA to issue a statement rejecting the celebration of jubilee for genocide convicts, an act considered as undermining genocide.
Ahishakiye said that praising genocide convicts hurts genocide survivors and others aware of convicts’ acts of evil.
Ahishakiye said that the Catholic Church should understand the gravity of the convicts’ crimes.
IBUKA value the title of ‘priest’
IBUKA finds that the title ‘priest’ should not be stripped of a genocide perpetrator but they should be perceived in a particular way.
“Their genocide acts stripped them the sacrament of priesthood so their jubilee should not be celebrated. A priest who killed his sheep, committed genocide, strayed the mission assigned by the church.Maybe they remain in books of Catholic Church where they are registered but their deeds deprive them of the value of getting their jubilee celebrated,” said Ahishakiye.
IBUKA may take Kabgayi diocese to court
IBUKA urges Kabgayi diocese to remove the two genocide convicted priests from the list or be brought to court.
“I think what we are requesting is logical. If Kabgayi diocese does not heed in promoting genocidaires and related ideology then court action will be inevitable,” he said.
Kabgayi Diocese Concerns
Bishop Mbonyintege has denied to have released the invitation on which appear two priests convicted of genocide crimes saying the jubilee will be celebrated for non-convicted priests who currently operate in Kabgayi diocese.
Mbonyintege who is currently abroad has said that he will release original invitations when he returns to Rwanda.
Will Catholic Church Apologize?
Ahishakiye says that the church should organize an event where clerics that deviated from their duties should confess their involvement in genocide and apologise.
The bishop of Kigali diocese, Ntihinyurwa Thadée and Mbonyintege Smaragde, were asked whether the church will apologize in a documentary film dubbed Abces de la Verite (Abscess of Truth).
They explained that the church plans to separate itself from the deeds of genocidaires.
In an interview held with IGIHE on 27th June, 2016, Bishop Mbonyintege said that they have organized special activities during the ordination of priests on 16th July, 2016.
“The jubilee will be celebrated for those who deserve it…I personally will apologize publically .we will be in Sacerdotal year on that day, so I can’t decline to say something on priests who deviated from their pact,” he said.