Did Apparitions Aim to Prepare Rwanda for the Worst?

VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Why did the Virgin Mary appear in a Rwandan village?

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This is a key question in the wake of a declaration of Bishop Augustine Misago of Gikongoro, which was published by the Vatican and which confirmed the veracity of the Kibeho visionaries in the 1980s.

Stefano De Fiores, a member of the International Pontifical Marian Academy, responded to this question in an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, and underlined the common elements of the Virgin´s revelations in Rwanda with those of other places.

The apparitions were a «call to prayer, conversion and fasting; but, above all, a message of reconciliation,» De Fiores said.

He noted that the diocesan approval of the apparitions in Rwanda does not change Catholic theology.

«Jesus, is Revelation,» De Fiores said. «To go beyond would be very dangerous. As St. Thomas said, apparitions must be understood in the realm of charisms, especially that of prophecy, offered for moral behavior and the spiritual life.»

He added: «The list of truths is not enlarged, but the Church and community are given a push, to prepare for times to come that might be difficult.»

Rwanda in 1994 suffered a genocide, in which government-orchestrated massacres left more than 500,000 people dead, most of them Tutsis or politically moderate Hutus.

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