Word Notes & Quotes

China's Oldest Catholic Church Discovered

TEXAS CATHOLIC, Sept. 17—Archaeologists in China have discovered the 700-hundred year old ruins of what is believed to be the oldest Catholic Church in Asia, Chinese state media reported Sept. 2.

The ruins, located 380 miles northwest of Beijing, tell of a Church with walls just under 17 feet in height which contained an enormous main hall and two 16 foot tall rostrums. A white stone lion found under the ruins resembles those found in front of Italian cathedrals dating from the same time period, the Chinese news service reported.

Catholic missionaries traveling along the Silk Road, which runs from China through Central Asia, were among the first Westerners to visit China.

Rwandan Bishop Tried for War Crimes

WASHINGTON POST, Sept. 30—A Rwandan bishop accused of aiding in the genocide of Tutsis in the mid-90s, has denied the charges before a Rwandan tribunal, the Post reported.

Bishop Augustin Misago, a Hutu, is the highest Church official accused of helping organize the genocide. He admitted attending meetings with local and district officials who carried out the orders to exterminate Tutsis, but insisted that he was present only to to protect them from danger.

Hundreds of clergy were slaughtered in the war between the Hutus and the Tutsi minority, many for refusing to turn over refugees to the Hutu militias who carried out most of the killings. Sixty-two percent of the Rwandan population claimed Church membership before the war began.

Aloys Habimana, who has monitored scores of genocide trials for the independent Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, told the Post, that despite appearances, the government faces an uphill battle.

“To prove planning genocide is not easy against someone who was not in the government,” Habimana said. “They want to show the bishop was close to the government, but something is missing.”

The Vatican has pledged its support for Bishop Misago, and is paying his legal fees, the Post reported.