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Pope Francis

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Pope apologizes for "the sins" of the Church during the Rwandan genocide

2017-03-20

The pope had a meeting with Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. They greeted each other with this handshake.

"Holy Father. Nice to meet you."

The pope explained why the press was present.

"Now the photo protocol.”

As usual with the visits of leaders from around the world, the Holy See later explained the content of the meeting. The pope expressed his grief over the genocide committed against the Tutsis and apologized for the "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." 

In fact, many of them were tried for their participation in the genocide either by the Rwandan courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or the Belgian courts. Some were convicted, others were acquitted. The Rwandan Church also asked for forgiveness last November through a letter signed by the country's nine bishops.

At the exchange of gifts, the president gave the pope a tribal scepter. Pope Francis, on his part, gave him a medallion with the inscription "the desert will become a garden."

"I like to give this to the heads of state."

He also presented him with the three documents of his pontificate: Amoris Laetitia, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato si'.

The pope said goodbye to the president and his wife, asking them to pray for him and he blessed the people of Rwanda. Since the genocide, relations between the African country and the Holy See have been practically broken. This meeting is an important step forward.


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