The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has today held talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, with the latter apologizing over the Catholic Church’s involvement in the 1994 genocide.
Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who accompanied President Kagame to the Vatican, said the two discussed the Catholic Church’s role in the most tragic chapters of Rwanda’s past, the Tutsi genocide in 1994.:
“Today’s meeting was characterised by a spirit of openness and mutual respect. It is a positive step forward in the relationship between Rwanda and the Holy See, based on a frank and shared understanding of Rwanda’s history and the imperative to combat genocide ideology. It allows us to build a stronger base for restoring harmony between Rwandans and the Catholic Church.
Minister Mushikiwabo also said the President commended the Church’s contributions to Rwanda’s socio-economic development, particularly in the education and health sectors.”
Rwanda’s progress in reconciliation and economic development was also noted, including the fact that survivors and repentant perpetrators have learned to live and work side-by-side, and that shared Catholic faith has facilitated these efforts and provided comfort.