The Catholic Church in Rwanda has issued an apology on behalf of church members who were involved in the 1994 genocide.
The apology is part of a joint resolution, which was read in all Rwandan churches Sunday.
"Even though the church sent no body to do harm, we, the Catholic clerics in particular, apologize, again, for some of the church members, clerics, people who dedicated themselves to serve God and Christians in general who played a role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi," the Rwanda Bishops’ Conference said in a statement.
"We apologize for all hate sins and divisions that were created in our country to the level that we hated our compatriots based on ethnicity. We ask for forgiveness that very often we did not show that we are just one family and people turned to their colleagues to kill, looted their properties and dehumanized them.”
Timothy Longman, of Vassar College, released research showing that Christian churches were “deeply implicated” in the genocide of the Tutsi people.
When thousands of Tutsis sought refuge in the churches, “death squads surrounded the churches and systematically slaughtered the people within, tossing grenades through church windows, firing into the crowds with rifles, then finishing off the survivors with machetes, pruning hooks and knives.”
Said Dr. Jean-Damascène Bizimana, of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide: “That the whole clergy sat down and apologised together for the role played in the genocide is a positive move; it shows their position and makes it clear for some who questioned the church's position on genocide.”
Publication date: November 21, 2016