Rwandan genocide: Pope Francis asks forgiveness for Church failings

Rwandan genocide: Pope Francis asks forgiveness for Church failings

Pope Francis has asked for "God's forgiveness" for the "sins and failings" of the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Rwandan genocide.

Dozens of Catholic priests are believed to have been complicit in the killings of some 800,000 people by Hutu extremists in 1994.

Several massacres were carried out in churches where people sought sanctuary.

The Vatican has, until now, maintained that the Church as an institution bore no responsibility.

On Monday, Pope Francis conveyed his "profound sadness" for the "genocide against the Tutsi," the Vatican said in a statement.


He begged for God's forgiveness "for the sins and failings of the Church and its members" who, the statement said, had "succumbed to hatred and violence".

In November, the government in Kigali requested an apology from the Vatican for the role that some Catholic priests and religious figures played in the massacres of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

"Today, genocide denial and trivialisation continue to flourish in certain groups within the Church and genocide suspects have been shielded from justice within Catholic institutions," a government statement said earlier on Monday.

The Pope's statement, which he said he hoped would help Rwanda heal, followed a meeting in Rome with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Mr Kagame described the comments on Monday as a great moment and a new chapter in relations between his country and the Vatican.

Mr Kagame, Tutsi, led a rebel force to halt the slaughter in 1994 as accusations surfaced that some priests and nuns had taken part in the killings.

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana - a Hutu - was shot down, killing everyone on board.

Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsi rebel group the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and immediately started a well-organised campaign of slaughter.

The RPF said the plane had been shot down by Hutus to provide an excuse for the genocide.

Between April and June, an estimated 800,000 people - mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus - died at the hands of Hutu extremists.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Inmarsat's European short-haul wifi spacecraft launches

Inmarsat's European short-haul wifi spacecraft launches..

28-Jun, 21:19

A new Europe-wide wifi service for aeroplanes came a step closer on...

British Army too small, warn US military experts

British Army too small, warn US military experts..

28-Jun, 12:48

The UK should not make further cuts to its military budgets because its...

Celine Dion turned heads in Paris as she stepped out in a ?6,000 Balmain snakeskin coat and a band T-shirt

Celine Dion turned heads in Paris as she stepped out in a ?6,000 Balmain snakeskin coat and a..

28-Jun, 15:54

hellofashion.com / Read more about: Celine Dion fashion news...

Dixons Carphone reports record full-year profits

Dixons Carphone reports record full-year profits..

28-Jun, 03:37

Dixons Carphone's annual profit has surpassed ?500m for the first time,...

Last-minute bargaining keyed passage of GOP health care bill

Last-minute bargaining keyed passage of GOP health care bill..

05-May, 03:26

President Donald Trump was ready to celebrate. On the day House...

Congo court sentences 9 rebels to death over killings

Congo court sentences 9 rebels to death over killings..

10-Mar, 11:14

A Congolese court on Friday sentenced to death nine rebels and acquitted...

Philippine leader names his senator ally new foreign chief

Philippine leader names his senator ally new foreign chief..

10-May, 22:17

A Philippine senator who is a staunch defender of President Rodrigo...

Failure on health bill also hurts prospects for tax overhaul

Failure on health bill also hurts prospects for tax overhaul..

26-Mar, 22:58

House Republicans' failure to repeal Barack Obama's health care law deals...