" Many, Hutus and Tutsis, blame the [Roma Catholic] church for her role in the history of Rwanda's social ills. Some educated Rwandan Catholics hold that the church at times during its long history in Rwanda contributed to social divisions and hatred and is responsible for the present conflict between Hutus and Tutsis."

[the following puts the best face possible on the RC cult re- Rwanda]

From............ National Catholic Reporter

October 7, 1994

page 11

By JOHN FRANCIS IZZO Special to the National Catholic Reporter

In early August, a 49-year-old Rwandese [Roman] Catholic priest paid a visit to his village, on vacation from his work at a seminary in Kenya. He discovered that everyone in his family except his mother and cousin had been murdered. These two survivors happened to have been away when the Hutu militia swept through their area last April.

Returning to Kenya after his sad visit the priest said, "As a nation, Rwanda has really died. We have lost everything, including our own collective memory. We have lost old and wise people, the youth and many, many children. We remain only with the orphans the mutilated, our wounded memories and, of course, the refugees. But we keep hoping resurrection may occur."

Much has been said in the media about the carnage that has taken place in Rwanda since April and the subsequent horrors resulting from the mass exodus of refugees. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Tutsis were slaughtered by power-hungry Hutu fanatics. Countless peoples of both tribes were killed in the ensuing military operations and thousands, mostly Hutus, died from accident and disease in the rush to flee Rwanda. During the time of the massacres, it was reported by one Catholic missionary that parents were hiding money and offering to tell invading militiamen where it was hidden if they would shoot their children rather than butcher them slowly as the parents watched.

The task of rebuilding Rwandan society will be awesome. Much of the country's infrastructure has been destroyed. Two generations of a major segment of the educated and professional classes have been murdered. Water, electricity communications and medical facilities must be rebuilt.

The refugees and displaced need to be repatriated. The necessity for humanitarian aid is tremendous. But the greatest and most complex need is for spiritual healing and reconciliation. To achieve this, the [Roman] Catholic church must assume a critical position in the process of settling differences and nurturing growth, both inside herself and within the larger Rwandan society.

For all the recounting of the horrors the Rwandan people have undergone and their need for generous assistance, little has been revealed regarding the role or fate of the [Roman] Catholic church. True, the killings of a few priests, nuns and male religious have been reported but these deaths, for the most part, have not been cast in the light of the larger socio-historical picture in which the church plays a pivotal role.

Rwanda is one of the most [Roman] Catholic and Christian nations in Africa. More than 80 percent of the people are Christian and the [Roman] Catholic population has been estimated at between 60 and 75 percent.

Mission activity in Rwanda dates back to the turn of the century. Ordination of Rwandans to the priesthood began in the 1920s and the first Rwandan bishop, Aloysius Bigirumwami, was consecrated in the early 1950s.

[Roman] Catholics murdered [Roman] Catholic priests and nuns.

More than one-third of Rwanda's religious and clergy have been slaughtered. Three Hutu bishops and more than 100 priests from both tribes are dead. Countless lay community leaders, the principal force behind Catholic evangelization, have been massacred. All church properties and holdings have been looted and destroyed. Along with helping in the reconstruction of the nation of Rwanda, the church must rebuild herself, beginning with her very foundations. She must seek forgiveness and rebirth within her own ranks as she struggles to help the Rwandese people heal their wounds and reconcile their differences.

Furthermore, the church's task is far more difficult and sensitive than it might have been if all she had to do was work for healing and reconciliation between groups of Catholics and among warring Rwandans. In order to become healed and play the role of peacemaker, the church herself must first seek forgiveness and work toward a new understanding of her place in Rwandan society. The Rwandan people have compassion for their church, for the human and physical loss the church has suffered, but many Rwandan people resent their church.

Many, Hutus and Tutsis, blame the church for her role in the history of Rwanda's social ills. Some educated Rwandan Catholics hold that the church at times during its long history in Rwanda contributed to social divisions and hatred and is responsible for the present conflict between Hutus and Tutsis.

To the extent that these charges are true, the church must express its guilt and seek forgiveness from the Rwandan people. Insofar as these feelings of resentment may miss the mark, the church still must struggle to reestablish a relationship of trust with the people with no hint of favoritism for one side. Only in this way can the church help Rwandans to heal their wounds and begin life anew. Only then will the Rwandan prayer be answered: "We keep hoping resurrection may occur."