POPE FRANCIS & PRESIDENT WILLIAM CLINTON RWANDAN GENOCIDE

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Pope Francis asks 'forgiveness' for church role in Rwandan genocide

By Stephanie Busari, CNN

FORMER PRESIDENT WILLIAM CLINTON ALSO EXPRESSES SINCERE REGRETS FOR

HIS FAILURE FOR THE UNITED STATES TO INTERCEDE IN STOPPING THE GENOCIDE

THAT WAS OCCURRING IN RWANDAN.

Updated 11:38 AM ET, Mon March 20, 2017

Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro College of Technology

in Kigali to commemorate the 2,000 people who were abandoned by United

Nations troops during the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro

College of Technology in Kigali to commemorate the 2,000 people who were

abandoned by United Nations troops during the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

6 of 11

Ophelia Nyiramagumeri holds a rosary in Kigali. It was given to her by her nephew,

who was killed in the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Ophelia Nyiramagumeri holds a rosary in Kigali. It was given

to her by her nephew, who was killed in the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

7 of 11

Skulls of victims from the genocide are displayed inside the Ntarama Catholic Church

memorial on April 4 in Ntarama.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Skulls of victims from the genocide are displayed inside the

Ntarama Catholic Church memorial on April 4 in Ntarama.

Hide Caption

8 of 11

Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by a woman

during a public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali on April 7 to mark the 20th

anniversary of the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocid

is consoled by a woman during a public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali on April 7

to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

Hide Caption

9 of 11

Members of the Sainte-Famille Catholic Church congregation pray during a Sunday morning

service in Kigali on April 6. The church was the scene of many killings during the 1994

genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Members of the Sainte-Famille Catholic Church congregation pray

during a Sunday morning service in Kigali on April 6. The church was the scene of many

killings during the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

10 of 11

People hold a candlelight vigil at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on April 7 during a ceremony

marking the anniversary of the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – People hold a candlelight vigil at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on

April 7 during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the genocide.

Hide Caption

11 of 11

Family photos of victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide hang inside the Kigali Genocide

Memorial Centre in the country's capital of Kigali on April 5.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Family photos of victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide hang

inside the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in the country's capital of Kigali on April 5.

Hide Caption

1 of 11

Alphonsine Mukamfizi, 42, who survived three attempts on her life and had to fake death

to survive, poses at her home in Nyamata, a small town outside Kigali. The rest of her

11 family members were killed in the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Alphonsine Mukamfizi, 42, who survived three attempts on her life

and had to fake death to survive, poses at her home in Nyamata, a small town outside Kigali.

The rest of her 11 family members were killed in the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

2 of 11

Prisoners convicted of genocide are interviewed by a delegation from the U.S. Holocaust

Memorial Museum that visited a prison in Nyanza on April 3.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Prisoners convicted of genocide are interviewed by a delegation

from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that visited a prison in Nyanza on April 3.

Hide Caption

3 of 11

Rwandans worship during a Sunday service at the Chapel Mbyo on April 6 in Mybo.

Some scholars say Christian leaders gave moral sanction to the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Rwandans worship during a Sunday service at the Chapel

Mbyo on April 6 in Mybo. Some scholars say Christian leaders gave moral sanction

to the genocide.

Hide Caption

4 of 11

Teacher Alphonse Senyoni leads a class on history, politics and the 1994 genocide

for former Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda combatants in Mutobo on

April 10.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Teacher Alphonse Senyoni leads a class on history, politics

and the 1994 genocide for former Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda

combatants in Mutobo on April 10.

Hide Caption

5 of 11

Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro College of Technology in Kigali

to commemorate the 2,000 people who were abandoned by United Nations troops during

the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro College

of Technology in Kigali to commemorate the 2,000 people who were abandoned by United

Nations troops during the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

6 of 11
Ophelia Nyiramagumeri holds a rosary in Kigali. It was given to her by her nephew,

who was killed in the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Ophelia Nyiramagumeri holds a rosary in Kigali. It was given

to her by her nephew, who was killed in the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

7 of 11

Skulls of victims from the genocide are displayed inside the Ntarama Catholic Church

memorial on April 4 in Ntarama.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Skulls of victims from the genocide are displayed inside the

Ntarama Catholic Church memorial on April 4 in Ntarama.

Hide Caption

8 of 11

Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by a woman

during a public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali on April 7 to mark the 20th

anniversary of the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide,

is consoled by a woman during a public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali on April 7

to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

Hide Caption

9 of 11

Members of the Sainte-Famille Catholic Church congregation pray during a Sunday morning

service in Kigali on April 6. The church was the scene of many killings during the 1994

genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Members of the Sainte-Famille Catholic Church congregation pray

during a Sunday morning service in Kigali on April 6. The church was the scene of many

killings during the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

10 of 11

People hold a candlelight vigil at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on April 7 during a ceremony

marking the anniversary of the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – People hold a candlelight vigil at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on

April 7 during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the genocide.

Hide Caption
11 of 11

Family photos of victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide hang inside the Kigali Genocide

Memorial Centre in the country's capital of Kigali on April 5.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Family photos of victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide hang

inside the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in the country's capital of Kigali on April 5.

Hide Caption

1 of 11

Alphonsine Mukamfizi, 42, who survived three attempts on her life and had to fake death

to survive, poses at her home in Nyamata, a small town outside Kigali. The rest of her

11 family members were killed in the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Alphonsine Mukamfizi, 42, who survived three attempts on her

life and had to fake death to survive, poses at her home in Nyamata, a small town outside

Kigali. The rest of her 11 family members were killed in the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

2 of 11
Prisoners convicted of genocide are interviewed by a delegation from the U.S. Holocaust

Memorial Museum that visited a prison in Nyanza on April 3.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Prisoners convicted of genocide are interviewed by a delegation

from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that visited a prison in Nyanza on April 3.

Hide Caption

3 of 11

Rwandans worship during a Sunday service at the Chapel Mbyo on April 6 in Mybo.

Some scholars say Christian leaders gave moral sanction to the genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Rwandans worship during a Sunday service at the Chapel

Mbyo on April 6 in Mybo. Some scholars say Christian leaders gave moral sanction

to the genocide.

Hide Caption

4 of 11

Teacher Alphonse Senyoni leads a class on history, politics and the 1994 genocide

for former Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda combatants in Mutobo on April 10.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Teacher Alphonse Senyoni leads a class on history, politics and

the 1994 genocide for former Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda combatants

in Mutobo on April 10.

Hide Caption

5 of 11

Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro College of Technology in Kigali to

commemorate the 2,000 people who were abandoned by United Nations troops during the 1994 genocide.

Photos: Praying for forgiveness in Rwanda

Rwanda 20 years later – Thousands of people gather April 5 at the Kicukiro College of

Technology in Kigali to commemorate the 2,000 people who were abandoned by United Nations

troops during the 1994 genocide.

Hide Caption

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Story highlights

Apology came during Monday meeting with Rwanda President Paul Kagame

Human rights groups have criticized Catholic Church for silence during Rwanda's 1994 genocide

(CNN)Pope Francis has asked Rwandan President Paul Kagame for forgiveness for the

"sins and failings" of the Catholic Church during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

During a meeting with Kagame Monday at the Vatican, the Pope expressed "solidarity

with the victims and with those who continue to suffer the consequences of those

tragic events," according to a statement from the Vatican.

Pope Francis acknowledged that priests, nuns and members of the Catholic church

had succumbed to hatred and violence in Rwanda, "betraying their own evangelical mission,"

the Vatican said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Rwanda's foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who accompanied President Kagame

on the trip, said the meeting was a positive step forward.

"It allows us to build a stronger base for restoring harmony between Rwandans

and the Catholic Church," she added in a statement released by the presidency.

In November, the Catholic Church in Rwanda apologized for its members' role in

the genocide that saw hundreds of thousands of Rwandans killed in 1994.

Rwanda's Catholic Church says sorry for its role in 1994 genocide

Rwanda's Catholic Church says sorry for its role in 1994 genocide

Rwandan bishops asked for "forgiveness for sins of hatred and disagreement

that happened in the country to the point of hating our own countrymen because

of their origin," in a statement read after mass in parishes across the country.

In 1994, Hutu extremists in Rwanda targeted minority ethnic Tutsis and moderate

Hutus in a three-month killing spree that left an estimated 800,000 people dead.

Hutu attackers burned down churches with hundreds or thousands of Tutsis inside.

The violence was triggered by the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana, an

ethnic Hutu, in a plane crash on April 6, 1994.

Rwanda wasn't what I thought it would be

Rwanda wasn't what I thought it would be

Four Catholic priests were indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal

for Rwanda for their role in the genocide in 2001.
Among them was Rwandan Catholic Priest Athanse Seromba, who was sentenced to

life imprisonment for actively participating in the massacre of around

2,000 Tutsis who sought protection in his church.

The United Nations has criticized the Catholic Church in the past for its

failure to apologize for its complicity in the killings.

Rwandan's mission: Justice after genocide

Rwandan's mission: Justice after genocide 03:29

Human rights groups have also joined in the criticism of the church and its

role in Rwanda's genocide.

Groups such as African Rights, who have researched the mass slaughter, say

there is "overwhelming evidence that church leaders maintained their silence

in the face of genocide," according to a 1998 report.

They argue that the small number of indictments do not accurately represent

the church's role in the genocide.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/ng-interactive/2014/apr/0...