President Paul Kagame has lauded the apology of Pope Francis on behalf of Catholic Church for members who were involved in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Pope Francis made the apology yesterday as he met President Kagame during a visit to Vatican following an invitation from the Pope. He arrived on Sunday.
President Kagame was accompanied by first lady and foreign affairs minister, Louise Mushikiwabo.
They were warmly welcomed, held talks and exchanged gifts where Kagame gave a Rwandan decorated rod.
Their talks revolved around Rwanda’s resilience, role of Catholic Church in development where Kagame commended the Church’s development activities over the past 100 years especially in health and education sectors.
They also discussed on the role of Catholic Church in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi where Pope Francis made the apology begging forgiveness for the "sins and failings of the church and its members" during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against Tutsi, and told President Kagame that he hoped his apology would help heal the country.
In an extraordinary statement after Pope Francis’ meeting with President Paul Kagame, the Vatican acknowledged that the church itself bore blame, as well as some Catholic priests and nuns who "succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission" by participating in the genocide.
During the 100-day genocide, many of the victims died at the hands of priests, clergymen and nuns, according to some accounts by survivors, and the Rwandan government says many died in the churches where they had sought refuge.
During the 25-minute meeting in the Apostolic Palace, Francis "implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the church and its members," the Vatican said.
He "expressed the desire that this humble recognition of the failings of that period, which unfortunately disfigured the face of the church, may contribute to a ’purification of memory’ and may promote, in hope and renewed trust, a future of peace."
Following the meet with Pope President Kagame expressed gratitude for the apology made by the Pope.
“Great day/moment and meeting with Pope Francis, new chapter in relations between Rwanda & Catholic Church/Holy See!Being able to acknowledge/ apologise for wrongs in circumstances/cases like this is an act of courage and moral high standing typical @Pontifex,”said Kagame in a tweet.