Pope Francis met with Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame this week and actually asked for forgiveness for the church’s role during the 1994 genocide.
From April to July in 1994, the 100 day genocide occurred when some 800,000 Tutsi’s were hunted by extremist Hutu. Some of the victims were killed by catholic priests and clergymen, and many were killed while trying to take shelter in churches.
The Vatican’s statement went on to say that Francis “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.”
The Huffington Post reports:
Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the “sins and failings of the church and its members” that took place during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide on Monday after a meeting with Rwanda’s president.
In Francis’ statement, after the 25-minute meeting in the Apostolic Palace with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the Vatican indicated that some Catholic priests and nuns “succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission” by partaking in the genocide.
From April to July 1994, about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. The violence began after the death of the Hutu president of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down. According to some accounts by survivors, many victims of the 100-day genocide were killed by priests, clergymen and nuns. Also, many Tutsis were killed in churches while seeking solace from the horror.
Roughly half of Rwanda’s population is Roman Catholic.