What next after the Pope’s declaration on the Genocide against the Tutsi?

RE: “Rwandans react to Pope Francis’ remorse over the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi” (The New Times, March 22).
Clerics pray for ex-Genocide convicts after they were forgiven by Genocide survivors at Nyamata Parish early this year. File.
Clerics pray for ex-Genocide convicts after they were forgiven by Genocide survivors at Nyamata Parish early this year. File.

Editor,

RE: “Rwandans react to Pope Francis’ remorse over the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi” (The New Times, March 22).

As well put, acknowledgment and apology is courage and humility typical of the Pope. This is one step in the right direction. But I want to believe the best apology would be cemented by the willingness to support in the process of justice.

We need all the fugitive priests in foreign countries to be brought to justice. The Holy See can facilitate this process.

Richard Niwenshuti

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Acleo Mugisha has expressed it best. The Pope has made a step in the right direction, but has certainly fallen short of expressing a full-hearted apology for his institution’s role (before, during and since) in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

One apologises for one’s deeds and seeks to know how to make honourable amends for those wrongs, while one is ‘saddened’ by something that has happened to somebody but in which the sad person may not have been the cause or at any rate not the major actor.

Genocide in our country – and the many repetitive pogroms before it – has the Catholic Church’s fingerprints all over it.

I am happy to see this particular Pope’s tentative steps – a major departure from his predecessors’ willful blindness – towards recognising the role of the Church in the abomination that is genocide.

But people should not attempt to tell us to see more than what this step represents; there was an acknowledgment of the institution’s role (rather than the usual dodge of ‘it was individuals that did it, not us’), not a full-hearted apology.

We have also not heard from the Church whether it will now stop shielding from justice the many genocidal priests, like Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, it has squirreled in many safe havens.

And until the Church makes these necessary steps, many lapsed Catholics like me will continue to point accusatory fingers at the institution.

Mwene Kalinda

 

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