To many observers, Rwanda was a colony of the White Fathers. That Roman Catholic religious order, created in Algiers in 1868 by Cardinal Lavigerie, evangelized the country from 1900 onwards, effectively becoming the state church. To maintain its domination, the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy supported the theory of the so-called "hamite supremacy" by selecting, educating, and establishing an elite among one of the three Rwandan social groups, the Batutsi, who were given the monopoly of power. Frustrations and recriminations that resulted from this injustice and its accompanying exclusion of other groups from power, led to the bloodshed of the uprisings of the 1959 revolution that preceded independence in 1962. Then, in 1959, the Roman Catholic Church abandoned the Batutsi in favour of the Bahutu majority.
From 1973 to 1994, both Catholic and Protestant leaders entered into close political relations with the regime of the MRND (Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour le Developpement), which alienated them from the people of Rwanda when human rights abuses were widespread, culminating in the war in 1990 and the genocide of 1994.
If the church's mission remains that of teaching and evidencing love, justice and righteousness (Micah 6:8), there is the need for it to recover its credibility so that it can play its part in the healing and reconciliation of the country, and this can only be done through its confession and repentance of it failures and complicity in the tragedies.