Catholic Apology For Genocide In Rwanda Is Profoundly Inadequate, Says Government

Preserved skulls spread out on a metal shelf in a Catholic church in Nyamata, Rwanda. Hundreds who sought refuge within the church compound were brutally killed during mass killings that lasted three months in the 1994 genocide.Reuters

The government of Rwanda has issued a stinging rebuke to the country's Catholic bishops over their recent apology for the part played by church members in the 1994 genocide.

Christian churches were "deeply implicated" in the slaughter of the Tutsi population, with churches being sites for many massacres, and church members and administrators actually taking part. 

Yesterday the Rwanda government welcomed the attempt to express remorse, but said the apology was profoundly inadequate.

The government said in its statement: "Its profound inadequacy only serves to highlight how far the Catholic Church still remains from a full and honest reckoning with its moral and legal responsibilities."

In apologising on behalf of a few unnamed individuals, the bishops appear to take the "extraordinary step" of exonerating the Catholic Church as a whole for any culpability in connection with the genocide, the statement said.

"Everything in the historical record contradicts this divisive claim," it added.

The government also notes that it is "regrettable" that some priests declined to read the bishops' message to parishioners as intended, thus disassociating themselves from even this mild expression of regret.

The Rwandan government called for a full apology from the Vatican and pledged to continue to encourage the Catholic Church "to face up to its own past" without excuses or fear, just as Rwandans themselves have been doing over the past two decades.

More News in World