Pope Francis defrocks Rwandan priest accused of fathering child

Pope Francis has sacked a 64-year-old clergyman of Rwandan descent, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who had been serving in northern France for close to 30 years.

The bishop of Évreux issued a communiqué, which has been circulating online, stating that Munyeshyaka “is excluded” from continuing to serve as a priest “anywhere else” and “automatically loses clerical rights”.

The authenticity of the communiqué was confirmed by the Office of the Diocese of Évreux to the BBC, and it was revealed that the decision was based on a papal decree dating back to March.

Munyeshyaka, who fled to France following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, has not commented on the decision.

In December 2021, he was suspended by his diocese after it was revealed that he had legally acknowledged fathering a 10-year-old boy.

Mr Munyeshyaka was ordained a priest in Rwanda in 1992, where he is accused of playing a role in the killing of hundreds of Tutsis who had fled to his church in the capital, Kigali, during the genocide. Courts in France have cleared him of the genocide charges.

On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis became the first pontiff from Latin America and the first to name himself after St Francis of Assisi.

These were some early hints at the change he would try to bring about in the Roman Catholic Church.

His visit to Iraq, his comments on the climate crisis and migration made headlines.

In an ever changing world with the centre of gravity of global Catholicism drifting away from Europe, Francis chose to adapt. He launched different reforms with some pertaining to the redistribution of power according to this vaticanist.

“During these past 10 years, we have witnessed the largest redistribution of power between cities, countries and continents in the history of contemporary church,” Piero Schiavazzi, Vatican Geopolitics Professor at the Link University, Rome, said.

“The real power of the church lies within the group of 120 cardinals who are in charge of electing a new pope. The overall number of cardinals coming from the Western world has been reduced and by doing so the geopolitical influence of the West has decreased whereas the Eastern world’s one has increased.” –BBC/africanews

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