By apologising to Americans for sins committed by his Catholic Church top staff, Pope Benedict XVI has ended up opening for himself and the Vatican institution a Pandora’s Box.
During his current and first visit to the United States, the Pontiff has penitently regretted the unholy acts of the sodomite priests, whose victims are over one thousand Christian males, sexually abused when they were young.
Two articles in this newspaper yesterday literally urged the Pope to make a stopover here in Rwanda to pronounce himself on the role of local leaders of his church in the 1994 Genocide.
One of the two articles went as far as giving the names of the Fathers and Sisters who actively participated in the bloody campaign to cleanse Rwanda of the Tutsi. The problem is not what the Pope has said to America; it is that after all he could say it at all.
It is as if Genocide survivors and their friends who know well who did what in the mass killings thought the Catholic Church leadership never apologises.
They come to the conclusion because the espoused values of Catholicism do not have among them anything near human life denigration.
And because the Pope’s church subscribes to the cross cutting popular practice of upholding the sanctity of human life, people thought someone from Rome should have by now owned up to the direct involvement of Fathers Seromba, Nsengimana and Rukundo, and Sisters Kizito and Consolata, in the Genocide.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Tanzania has already convicted some of these ‘holy genocidaires’ and is still trying others. And so it is not like the Pope has no evidence on which to base his pronouncement.
Ironically, when one closely examines the issue of apologising or not, the church and not Rwandans should want it more. This is because no one here is thinking of the $2.5 billion, the sum dished out in compensation to the American sexual abuse victims.
Rwandans simply seek the church’s expiation in form of acknowledging its role during the Genocide. The church is like a neighbour whose unusual conduct yesterday you want explained before you freely dine with them today. It is the Catholic Church which needs penitence.