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RWANDA: Renewed trust

Pope Francis (C) poses with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and his wife Jeannette Kagame ahead of a meeting at the Vatican March 20, 2017. TONY GENTILE / POOL / AFP

Pope begs God’s forgiveness for Church sins in Rwanda genocide

President Paul Kagame on March 10 held talks with the head of the Catholic Church; the Holy Father, Pope Francis, at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

After the meeting, the Vatican said in a statement that the pontiff “conveyed his profound sadness and that of the Holy See and of the Church, for the genocide against the Tutsi”.

Pope Francis has begged for God’s forgiveness for “the sins and failings of the Church and its members” implicated in the 1994 Rwanda genocide that killed around 800,000 people.

“He implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission,” it said.

Francis’s pardon plea followed a request from Rwanda in November for the church to apologise for its role in the massacres.

Since the genocide, whose victims were mostly from the Tutsi minority, the Catholic Church has been accused of being close to the Hutu extremist regime in power in 1994.

A number of churches became scenes of mass killings as Hutu militiamen found people seeking refuge in them, sometimes turned over by priests, with no way out.

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