Catholic bishops in Rwanda apologize for role in genocide

FILE - In this Friday, April 4, 2014 file photo, the clothes of some of those who were slaughtered as they sought refuge inside the church hang above coffins containing the remains of multiple victims, as a memorial to the thousands who were killed in and around the Catholic church during the 1994 genocide in Ntarama, Rwanda. The Catholic Church in Rwanda apologized on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, for the church's role in the 1994 genocide, saying it regretted the actions of those who participated in the massacres. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Friday, April 4, 2014 file photo, the clothes of some of those who were slaughtered as they sought refuge inside the church hang above coffins containing the remains of multiple victims, as a memorial to the thousands who were killed in and around the Catholic church during the 1994 genocide in Ntarama, Rwanda. The Catholic Church in Rwanda apologized on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, for the church's role in the 1994 genocide, saying it regretted the actions of those who participated in the massacres. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) – The Catholic Church in Rwanda is apologizing for the church’s role in the 1994 genocide.

In a statement read out in parishes across the country on Sunday, the Conference of Catholic Bishops said it regretted the role of church members in planning, aiding and executing the genocide, in which over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists.

The statement said: “We apologize for all the wrongs the church committed.”

Local church leaders had resisted pressure from the government and groups of survivors to acknowledge the church’s complicity in mass murder, saying those church officials who committed crimes acted individually.

Some survivors have said priests and nuns were involved in some killings.

The bishops’ statement is seen as a positive development in Rwanda’s efforts at reconciliation.

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