Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina on Thursday ascended to the seat of saint Peter to become Pope Francis 1, the head of the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ's Vicar on Earth. First of all, we wish him, and the entire Rwandan Catholic community the best.
Rwanda has had a checkered past where the Catholic Church is concerned. Without a doubt, many within the Church either stood aside during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, or even directly participated in the killing of over a million innocent men, women and children. Names like Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva, Fathers Jean Francois Kayiranga, Edouard Nkurikiye, Emmanuel Rukundo, Laurent Ntimugura and Sister Julienne Maria Kizito and her Mother Superior, Gertrude Mukangango are individuals who will live on in infamy in Rwandan hearts and minds.
In many Rwandans minds, the biggest scandal in the Church isn't the issue of pedophile priests. Rather, the biggest scandal is the fact that, not only has the Church failed to apologize for the transgressions of its representatives, it has protected the men and women who actively participated in crimes against humanity.
Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a man who infamously walked around the Saint Famille Church grounds with a pistol raping women, is enjoying the good life in provincial France, preaching to a flock that doesn't know, or care, about the crimes he's accused of. The Church has refused to stop protecting him from justice. This cannot continue.
It is high time that the Church recognized the hurt and betrayal that Rwandans feel. We deserve an apology and justice. Pope Francis 1, the ball is in your court.