In a message sent to the president of the Republic of Rwanda for the national day of mourning on the 13th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians in the country to make their faith the foundation of an authentic and enduring reconciliation.
The genocide in Rwanda took place in April 1994, when rival Hutus and Tutsis began slaughtering each other, leaving more than one million dead. Several of the leaders behind the massacre are still on trial at the he International Court at The Hague.
“I desire to unite myself to the pain of the nation and to prayers for the victims of this horrible massacre, without distinction of creed, ethnicity or political opinion," the Holy Father said in his message.
The Pontiff added, "I hope that all Rwandans, guided by their civil and religious authorities, commit themselves with greater generosity and effectiveness in favor of national reconciliation and the building of a new country, in truth and justice, in fraternal unity and peace."
Benedict XVI concluded his message saying, “The Christian faith, shared by the majority of the Rwandan people, if it is lived with coherence and fullness, constitutes an effective aid in overcoming a past of errors and death, whose culminating moment was the genocide of 1994. At the same time, this faith inspires confidence in the possibility offered to all Rwandans, reconciled with one another, of building together a better future, of discovering again the newness of love, which is the only force that can lead to personal and social perfection and guide history towards the good.”