The Vatican has defrocked a Rwandan Catholic priest, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, after he was accused of fathering a child. This conclusion follows an internal probe that discovered Munyeshyaka had breached his chastity pledge.
According to the Catholic Church, defrocking a priest implies he is no longer permitted to perform religious obligations or show himself as a priest. This also implies he is no longer eligible for financial assistance from the Church.
Mr Munyeshyaka, who escaped to France during the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, has not commented on the judgment.
This 64-year-old man is also accused of participating in the Genocide against the Tutsis in April 1994 in Rwanda, according to the French newspaper ‘Actu’.
He was suspended by his diocese in December 2021 when it was revealed that he had legally admitted being the father of a 10-year-old son.
In a statement, the Catholic Church in Rwanda expressed its commitment to promoting ethical behavior among its clergy and the need to protect children from abuse. The Church also urged its members to report any misconduct or abuse by its officials.
The defrocking of Munyeshyaka has been received with mixed reactions. Some people have praised the Church’s decision, calling it a step towards ending the culture of impunity for sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Others have criticized the Church for its handling of abuse cases, citing the need for more transparency and accountability.
The Catholic Church has been grappling with numerous sexual abuse scandals globally, and the defrocking of Munyeshyaka is just one of many such cases. The Vatican has been accused of covering up such cases, protecting the perpetrators instead of the victims.