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By Godfrey Olukya   21-3-2013

A cross section of Rwandans are requesting the new Catholics’ leader, Pope Francis to apologize to their country over the negative role the some church leaders played in the 1994 genocide in which thousands of innocent people were killed.

It is alleged that some Catholic priests and nuns were among those who fueled the genocide. Up to now some priests are on the run as they are being hunted for having got involved in promoting genocide.

A Rwandan scholar also politics commentator, Joseph Wagatare said ‘ In the case of Rwanda, it is reasonable to expect that the people’s Pope, as he is getting to be known, will acknowledge the church’s complicity in the genocide in the country, apologize and ask for pardon. If not from Rwandans, at least from his master. He has taken up the papacy at an opportune moment to do this.’

Wagatare said that Pope Francis should have the courage to defrock and even excommunicate the rapist priests and mass murdering clergy who still ply their trade in various countries.

‘At the very least, he should shed a tear for the desecration of churches in Rwanda, sometimes at the supervision of priests.’ he said.

He said that the new pope has already scored many firsts. He is the first pope to take on the name Francis, after St Francis of Assisi, the son of a rich merchant who gave up wealth, pleasure and privilege for a life of extreme poverty. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope. He is the first pope to come from the Southern Hemisphere and the first outside Europe for more than a thousand years. He should also be the first pope to apologize to Rwanda.

Jean Habimana, a Catholic businessman in Rwanda’s capital Kigali said,’ it was shameful for some Catholic priests to promote genocide in this country. An apology from Pope Francis will go  a long way making Rwandans forgive them.’

Pierre Byabagye, a teacher in Rwanda said that if the Pope apologizes on behalf of all the Catholics who got involved in genocide in Rwanda, he will become one of the greatest Popes.

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