Rwanda has expressed satisfaction with recent Vatican apology on the role of the Catholic Church in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Briefing the media on the upcoming events, Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson explained the government’s take on an apology Pope Francis made recently.
On invitation of Pope Francis, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame met His Holiness at his Vatican office On March 20.
They discussed several issues, including, as expected, the role of the Church in the 1994 Genocide committed against Tutsi where 1 million Tutsi perished in 3 months.
Part of Vatican’s statement that was released after a-30min one-on-one meeting read; “the Pope expressed his solidarity with victims and with those who continue to suffer consequences of those tragic events.”
The Pope, “implored a new God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission.”
Mushikiwabo said this was a good move.
After the Pope’s meeting with President Kagame, comments soared on social media with the general public criticizing the apology. They said it’s not enough.
Mushikiwabo said the format used is correct and Rwandans, especially those that were directly affected by the Genocide should welcome the move.
“It’s the First time in decades, for the church to say we have absolutely failed, this shouldn’t be qualified as anything,” Mushikiwabo said adding that it was the first time for a Pope to admit that the Church completely failed during the Genocide.
Mushikiwabo said Rwandans, “should not expect the Pope to come door to door and ask forgiveness.”
Mushikiwabo who was part of the delegation at the Holy See says that Rwanda has a lot to remember about its relationship with the Church.
“We come from a history that has been very difficult between the Church and government. Then came the genocide…men and women of God planned and killed during the Genocide…many of them have been tried in different countries. It’s a very big wound that was created by the Catholic Church,” she said.
Meanwhile, President Kagame invited His Holiness to Rwanda, to experience the tragic aftermath of the Genocide and witness how Rwandans, especially Genocide survivors are strongly coming out of the tragedy.
In other issues raised, Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo responded to questions from journalists among others; Rwanda’s current relations with South Africa and Burundi as well as upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Minister briefed media about upcoming visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to Rwanda, and President Kagame’s visit to Djibouti.
With President Kagame’s recent visits to Africa, Asia, Europe and the US, Mushikiwabo told journalists that the visits were constructive and tangible results will start benefiting Rwandans and the country in future.