Posted by: sean | April 7, 2010

The Catholic Church and genocide

Alter in Nyamata church surrounded by victims' clothes

Just in case you are inclined to sympathize with the Church’s recent offensive pity party, it’s probably a good thing to remember that the Church’s malfeasance goes much further than sexually abusing deaf children and then covering it up. The Church also has a shameful past in Africa, an in particular the Rwandan genocide:

If you are an Irish Catholic, and have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, you were recently read a letter from Pope Benedict that tells you: “You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

For any practising Catholic in Rwanda, this letter must be unbearable. For it tells you how little you mean to the Vatican. Fifteen years ago, tens of thousands of Catholics were hacked to death inside churches. Sometimes priests and nuns led the slaughter. Sometimes they did nothing while it progressed. The incidents were not isolated. Nyamata, Ntarama, Nyarubuye, Cyahinda, Nyange, and Saint Famille were just a few of the churches that were sites of massacres.

To you, Catholic survivor of genocide in Rwanda, the Vatican says that those priests, those bishops, those nuns, those archbishops who planned and killed were not acting under the instruction of the church. But moral responsibility changes dramatically if you are a European or US Catholic. To the priests of the Irish church who abused children, the pope has this to say: “You must answer for it before almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres.”

The losses of Rwanda had received no such consideration. Some of the nuns and priests who have been convicted by Belgian courts and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, respectively, enjoyed refuge in Catholic churches in Europe while on the run from prosecutors. One such is Father Athanase Seromba, who led the Nyange parish massacre and was sentenced to 15 years in jail by the tribunal. In April 1994, Seromba helped lure over 2,000 desperate men, women and children to his church, where they expected safety. But their shepherd turned out to be their hunter.

One evening Seromba entered the church and carried away the chalices of communion and other clerical vestments. When a refugee begged that they be left the Eucharist to enable them to at least hold a (final) mass, the priest refused and told them that the building was no longer a church. A witness at the ICTR trial remembered an exchange in which the priest’s mindset was revealed.

One of the refugees asked: “Father, can’t you pray for us?” Seromba replied: “Is the God of the Tutsis still alive?” Later, he would order a bulldozer to push down the church walls on those inside and then urge militias to invade the building and finish off the survivors.

At his trial, Seromba said: “A priest I am and a priest I will remain.” This, apparently, is the truth, since the Vatican has never taken back its statements defending him before his conviction.


  1. […] The Catholic Church and genocide April 7, 2010 Posted by rogerhollander in Africa, Genocide, Religion. Tags: catholic church, church sins, genocide, pope, Pope benedict, priests, religion, roger hollander, rwanda, rwandan genocide, Vatican trackback April 7, 2010, […]

  2. thats bad-but is it not as bad compared to the 90 % of women, her kids- beat up, raped and murdered by husbands, partners, fathers,brothers- who think religion and its laws tell him a couple is forever-this is what ALL religions have in common- slavery- st albert catholic church in alberta, canada- knowingly sends my brother out in hospitals to administer “sacraments” to catholic patients-many are women helpless in bed-he s a confirmed pedo-rapist w many victims-he buys guns and committed a shotgun attack on our lil sis legs when she was 10 y o -the shot are still in the family basement walls-to silence her from telling of his sex abuses on her-but at 36 yo she wrote book of her life on laptop which is on her photos-parents took laptop & denies it exists- months later found floating in montreal river- police say its suicide-father who abused all of us-says she and all us-have bipolar thats why we “tell lies” about his abuses- yes-offenders outlive their victims-thats why its been the age of kali ever since the beginning of religion-which broke up the matriarchy longhouse all over the world-my brother is a pastor-from paying the “religious” schools to get his degree-he continues to do hospital visits to unknowing helpless patients in edmonton alberta,canada-he s donated lots to catholic publishing, pro-life ads on tv- b/c hes educated that meeans hes NOT a crook- teachers tell us-religious corporations control everything-and politicians shake in their boots fearing them- boycott ST Albert Church & school in St Albert, alberta, Canada

    -many educated criminals in my family- oh- and my brother the Pastor- has always been into Drugs-and showed me a porn mag with children and parents in it- when he was 17 yo -he continues to use religion AND HIS “GOOD WORKS” to insure IMMUNITY from the LAW- his step daughter could tell you the nightmare he put her thru for years-

    our mother defends her husband and son -shes proud that theyre both jesuit university graduates and rich -money talks

  3. While I read this article, I am not so surprised, the catholic church through the ages has always been in the midst of such behavior , In the name of God. But I tell you. They do not KNOW God. God probably never told them to commit such heinous crimes against Humanity. I am shocked that at the fact that such as a history that the Catholic Religion has that they are considered to be one of the of the most populous churches in the world. That is what shocks me. Another reason that the catholic church consider themselves to be Christian. To be a Christian, one follows the teaching of the Messiah Yeshua the Christ. They do not. They are NOT christian.

  4. […] church given their (continuing) role in colonization of the Americas, sexual abuse, various genocides, and legacy of patriarchy. Yet I also recognize that people’s beliefs and practices are […]

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