UPDATE 1-Pope asks forgiveness for Church role in Rwanda genocide
(Adds govt comment from Rwanda, background)
By Crispian Balmer
VATICAN CITY, March 20 (Reuters) - Pope Francis asked for forgiveness on Monday for the "sins and failings of the Church" during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, saying he hoped his apology would help heal the African state's wounds.
But Rwanda's government indicated it felt the apology did not go far enough, saying the local Church was still complicit in protecting the perpetrators of the genocide.
At a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Pope Francis said that priests and Roman Catholic faithful had taken part in the slaughter of some 800,000 people from the ethnic Tutsi minority as well as moderates from the Hutu majority.
"(The pope) implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence," the Vatican said in a statement.
An official Rwandan statement repeated the government's long-standing accusation of Catholic complicity in the massacres.
"Today, genocide denial and trivialisation continue to flourish in certain groups within the Church and genocide suspects have been shielded from justice within Catholic institutions," said a government statement.
Kagame, a Tutsi, led a rebel force to halt the slaughter in 1994 and accusations immediately surfaced that some priests and nuns had taken part in the killings. Continued...