Reinventing Theology in Post-Genocide Rwanda

Challenges and Hopes

Marcel Uwineza, Elisée Rutagambwa, and Michel Segatagara Kamanzi, Editors

The first comprehensive examination of the Catholic Church’s role in the genocide against the Tutsi and its attempts at reconciliation
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The first comprehensive examination of the Catholic Church’s role in the genocide against the Tutsi and its attempts at reconciliation

From April to July 1994, more than a million people were killed during the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Tutsi men, women, and children were slaughtered by Hutu extremists in churches and school buildings, and their lifeless bodies were left rotting in these sacred places under the deep silence of church authorities. Pope Francis’s apology more than twenty years later presents the opportunity to reimagine the essence of the Church, the missionary enterprise, theology in its multiple dimensions, the purification of memory, and the place of human dignity in the Catholic faith.

Reinventing Theology in Post-Genocide Rwanda critically examines the Church’s responsibility in Rwanda’s tragic history and opens the dialogue to construct a new theology. Contributors to this volume offer moving personal testimonies of their journeys to reconciling the evil that has marred the Church’s image: bystanders’ indifference to the suffering, despite their claim as members of the Church.

The first volume of its kind, Reinventing Theology in Post-Genocide Rwanda is a necessary step toward the Rwandan Catholic Church and humanity’s restoration of fundamental peace and lasting reconciliation. Catholic clergy, lay people, and human rights advocates will benefit from this examination of ecclesial moral failure and subsequent reconciliatory efforts.

Table of Contents

1. The Problematic History of Rwanda and the Complicity of the Catholic Church – Marcel Uwineza, SJ
2. Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the Jews in Europe – Shelley Tennenbaum
3. Values and Faith-Based Education in Catholic Schools in Rwanda – Bishop Philippe Rukamba
4. The Role of the Church in the Process of Reconciliation in Rwanda – Antoine Cardinal Kambanda
5. “The Temple of His Body Post-Genocide Rwanda – Michel Segatagara Kamanzi, SJ
6. A Pauline Foundation for Social Reconciliation – Thomas D. Stegman, SJ
7. From Divine Trust to Human Responsibility – Martin Nizigiyimana
8. Luke-Acts on the Primacy of Faith Over Evil Civil/Political Commands –
Léocadie Lushambo, IT
9. Responsibilities of Theology in Post-Genocide Rwanda – M. Shawn Copeland
10. Learning from a Tragedy: Toward a New Evangelization– Laurenti Magesa
11. Theology of Suffering – George Griener, SJ
12. The God-Question: Sacramental Theology – Marcel Uwineza, SJ
13. The Formation of the Clergy in the Current Context of Rwanda’s Church – Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege
14. Being a Priest in Post-Genocide Rwanda: A Witness to Truth, Goodness, and Love – Eugène Niyonzima, SAC
15. Remembering Genocide: The Ethics of Anamnestic Solidarity – William O’Neill, SJ
16. Remembering Our Shared Humanity: Reaffirming Human Rights – David Hollenbach, SJ
17. Bias, Conversion, and Recognition – Ogonna Hilary Nwainya
18. Rethinking Genuine Leadership Through the Politics of Apology – Elisée Rutagambwa, SJ
19. The Religious and Secular Leadership We Need – Innocent Rugaragu, SJ
20. Post-Conflict Reconciliation and Reconstruction: Three Models of Prophetic Leadership in Great Lakes Africa – J.J. Carney
21. Jesuits Killed at Centre Christus: C. Mahame, P. Gahizi, I. Rutagambwa – Augustin Karekezi, SJ
22. Construction of Collective Memory: An Analysis of Rwanda’s Memorials – Leah Bacon
23. The Role of Visionary Leadership by Women in Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rebuilding – Mih Bibiana Mbei Dighambong
24. The Invisible Hand: Twenty-Five Years of Miracles Seen and Unseen in Rwanda– Jean Baptiste Ganza, SJ
Conclusion – Elisée Rutagambwa, SJ



"This book stands out as the only volume that articulates the Rwandan genocide as an opportunity to ‘reinvent theology’ while daring to turn the tides of hatred and division into peaceful coexistence. Reinventing Theology in Post-Genocide Rwanda provides a wide readership with new insights into understanding many other conflicts in the world."—Elias O. Opongo, SJ, senior lecturer and researcher of peace studies and international relations, Hekima University College,


Antoine Cardinal Kambanda, Bishop Phillipe Rukamba, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege, Leah Bacon, J.J. Carney, M. Shawn Copeland, Mih Bibiana, Mbei Dighambong, Jean Baptiste Ganza, George Griener, David Hollenbach, Michel Segatagara Kamanzi, Augustin Karekezi, Léocadie Lushombo, Laurenti Magesa, Eugene Niyonzima, Martin Nizigiyimana Ogonna, Hilary Nwainya, William O'Neill, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, Innocent Rugaragu, Elisée Rutagambwa, Thomas D. Stegman, Shelly Tenenbaum, Marcel Uwineza

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Marcel Uwineza, SJ, a Rwandan, is the dean of Hekima College’s Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds an MBA from York St John University, UK, and a PhD in theology from Boston College. He is the author of Risen from the Ashes: Theology as Autobiography.

Elisée Rutagambwa, SJ, a Rwandan, is the dean of Hekima College’s Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a PhL from the Catholic University of Kinshasa, DRC, and a PhD in moral theology from Boston College.

Michel Segatagara Kamanzi, SJ, a Rwandan, is an associate professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He holds a PhD in theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He is the author of Le second signe de Cana: Étude exégétique et théologique de Jn 4, 46–54.

448 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-1-64712-347-5
Jul 2023

448 pp., 7 x 10

Jul 2023

448 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-64712-346-8
Jul 2023

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