Photo by TSGT. MARVIN KRAUSE
In 1994, the Rwandan Genocide started. On April 6, a plane carrying the then-President, a Hutu. The Hutu extremists blamed a Tutsi rebel group, which started a slaughter of the Tutsi.
Per BBC, “Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsi rebel group the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and immediately started a well-organised campaign of slaughter.”
The church took part in the slaughter, by killing those who sought refuge in their churches. Pope Francis apologized to the now Rwandan President Paul Kagame for the behavior of the priests and nuns.
CNN reports, “Pope Francis acknowledged that priests, nuns and members of the Catholic church had succumbed to hatred and violence in Rwanda, ‘betraying their own evangelical mission,’ the Vatican said.”
This is the first time a Pope came and apologized on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church. Both the government and survivors of the genocide claimed that Catholic clergy didn’t protect victims who hid in their churches.
Newsweek explains, “The Rwandan government has long accused the Catholic Church and its institutions of facilitating the genocide, and survivor accounts claimed that Catholic clergy failed to protect victims who hid in their churches.”
In the genocide, some 800,000 people were killed, some of them in church sanctuaries.
CNN states, “Dozens of Catholic priests are believed to have been complicit in the killings of some 800,000 people by Hutu extremists in 1994.”
The Pope not only asked for forgiveness from the government, but also to the families whose loved ones had been killed.
Per Newsweek, “The pope expressed his solidarity with the victims and their loved ones and ‘implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom [were] priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence.’”
In November of 2016, the government of Rwanda requested an apology from the Vatican for the role the priests played in the massacre.
BBC reports, “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.”
Africa New Life sends out short-term mission teams to Rwanda to bring the hope of Christ to the people of Rwanda.
Africa New Life states, “Those who want to see what God is doing in Rwanda, and use their gifts and abilities to serve are invited to come. Team members bring their experience home and, in turn, affect their friends, family, and coworkers.”
Pray for healing between the Rwandan people and the Catholic Church. Pray for God to send people to share Christ’s hope. Pray for many to know Christ’s hope in Rwanda.