DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     May 19, 1999     vol. 10, no. 97

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican newspaper has spoken out forcefully against "a veritable campaign of defamation against the Catholic Church" in Rwanda.

          An article published in the May 18 issue of L'Osservatore Romano charges that the government of Rwanda is attempting to make the Church "appear responsible for the campaign of genocide" directed at the Tutsi tribe in 1994. The newspaper report is attributed to an official source in the Holy See.

          The article points out that Bishop Augustin Misago was arrested on April 14, and charged with aiding the killing, after being personally accused by Rwanda's President Pasteur Bizimungu. L'Osservatore Romano continued that Bishop Misago had been the subject of brutal media criticism, much of it clearly initiated by government officials. Similar campaigns had been undertaken in the past against the bishops of Kigali and Kabgayi, the newspaper pointed out.

          The propaganda campaign against the bishops, the article said, was a deliberate effort to "reduce or eliminate the role that the Church has played in the process of reconciliation in Rwanda-- in the past and continuing today." This in turn is a ploy by the government, intended to shore up its own public image, L'Osservatore argued.

          In an effort to recapture the truth of the situation, L'Osservatore observed that there were two different campaigns of genocide: one directed against Tutsis, quickly followed by a vicious backlash against Hutus. "Both of these genocides were horrible," the article says, "and both must be remembered." Any effort to ignore one set of killings and accentuate the other would be an obstacle to reconciliation and to the cause of peace, the Vatican newspaper argued.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 19, 1999       volume 10, no. 97


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