When asked whether in telling such truth he was not cutting down the tree upon which he was seated high up in the branches, Monsignor Jean Ndorerimana replied that he would rather cut off all the branches except the one good one he was seated on.
And that even if he fell down, he would have a lot of sympathizers who would pick him up. Excommunication/being defrocked, is a severe penalty resulting from grave crimes against the Catholic religion.
Jean Ndorerimana, the Rwandan Catholic priest who recently wrote a book exposing the role the Catholic Church played in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, risks being defrocked or even suffer more, according to what he said on radio yesterday.
The priest yesterday complained that he is receiving threats from various people within the Catholic Church, blaming him for revealing the secrets of the institution. I tried to get in touch with the priest to confirm the allegation with little success, because his phone was off.
But if the allegations turn to be true, then we are in trouble as far as unity and reconciliation is concerned. This institution has more than 70% Christian followers in Rwanda. Whatever it tells its followers, is taken as the ‘truth’.
The book the priest wrote entitled De la Region des Grands Lacs au Vatican, highlights the role the Catholic Church had in the crimes against humanity in Rwanda, actually paves way for reconciliation. It is only when people accept that they committed crimes and feel remorseful, that they can seek forgiveness.
Seeking forgiveness is a prerequisite for reconciliation; but if the Church is blocking such an initiative, then our future is doomed. If we are to go by the Bible which is supposed to guide all priests and Christians, then we have to repent.
“There is only this one way to be covered by Christ’s sacrifice — only one way to enter into eternity as a glorified member of God’s Family. And it involves repentance!”
This is summarised in Acts 2:38. And one of the very first words of that famous passage is “Repent”! So repentance is the first vital step to salvation.
Jesus declared: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Furthermore, the acts committed by the church against humanity during the genocide cannot be blamed on the ‘Man of God’ Jean Ndorerimana.
Evidence is everywhere in Rwanda and outside the country. Look at Father Seromba’s involvement in the Nyange church killings, the ‘Belgium nuns’, etcetera. The church can never distance itself from the role its members played in the genocide, though it has of course, repeatedly said that people who committed the crimes should be dealt with as individuals.
The church is not the buildings we see. The Christians and the priests are the ones that form the church. So, if they were involved (as we have seen), what else do they want to qualify for the blame?
Problems in our societies and the region as a whole tend to blow to higher proportions, because we do not address them squarely and with all the concern they deserve. Take another example of the violence in the DRC.
Ask someone in the conflict, the main causes, and you will be amused by the responses. If I can guess, you will be told that it is the CNDP of Nkunda fighting the government of the DRC, and so on.
This is what the world is told continuously, something very far from reality - the reality Jean Ndorerimana exposes in his book. MONUC spokesperson yesterday reiterated the truth that, “the DRC cannot be safe until it is free of militias; there is need to dismantle all militias so as to guard the sovereignity of the state”.
Militias of all sorts (born in the DRC), are engaged in the fight, and to make it worse all, the most notorious FDLR bandits enjoy the sanctuary of the Congolese.
FDLR is a hybrid group of ex-FAR, Interahamwe and others who fled justice after committing genocide in Rwanda. Because of their cruelty and the tortures they subjected to their victims, they were listed as international terrorists.
They are wanted criminals that the DRC government is cozying with! These are the people terrorising the people of the DRC.
They have done it elsewhere in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania; but most of these states never allowed them the freedom to continue or it went unnoticed. This is the fundamental difference between criminals in other countries and those in the DRC.
So, if you want to ‘untie the knot’ of DRC conflicts, just speak the truth and you will know who is behind it. Every human action goes with interest and remains on record.
Who is benefiting from the violence - the stable developing state or the international fugitive?
The records are there and the law of common sense gives us an appropriate answer. Let’s base on it and end the conflicts and violence there.
If I were in position, I would consider Monsignor Jean Ndorerimana for a Noble Peace Prize for having stood up against threats from the institution that nurtured him, to tell the world the truth. Such truth will build our nation and the world as a whole.