National issue: Catholic Church opposes foreign intervention
Alleging that Western powers had caused massive destruction in various parts of the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, the leader of the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday strongly objected to international intervention in Sri Lanka.
He said a direct dialogue with the TNA would help solve the problem easily as no party harboured ill will towards each other.
He also urged the government to fully implement LLRC recommendations.
He was addressing the media at Lankarama, Balcombe Place, Colombo 8, along with Bishop of Kandy Dr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Chilaw cum Secretary General of the CBCSL Dr. Valence Mendis, Bishop of Trincomalee Dr. J. Kingsley Swampillai, Fr. Rohan Silva, OMI, and Sr. Sunitha, AC, representing Conference of Major Religious Superiors, on several burning issues. He called for judicial independence and curtailing powers of the executive presidency. Issues such as disappearance of people should be addressed, he said.
He stressed the fact that foreign intervention would complicate the issue rather than providing a solution, but that should not mean the government should not grant justice to the victims and find solutions to the issues.
“Sri Lankans are not a pack of fools, who are unable to solve their problems and therefore a solution should be found by both parties with the government and the Tamil National Alliance being flexible to each other for co-existence,” he pointed.
“Let us solve the problem. We have great religions in Sri Lanka and our leaders have proclaimed religious values to unite on our own as brothers of one family using spirituality with pure heart and sincerity as a tool to reconciliation,” the Cardinal said.
Asked the approximate number of disappearances during the war, he said about 500 to 600, as the victims’ relatives had sent letters to the respective Bishops regarding their loved ones demanding justice and their whereabouts.
The Cardinal said that those letters were forwarded to the authorities concerned to address their grievances.
The government should either prosecute such detainees remanded in the prisons in different parts of the country or free them without postponing the dates of the trails, he said.
Highlighting the murders that had taken place since 1971 to date, he said so many men and women and even politicians were killed but most of the criminals had not been brought to justice.
He asked, “Where is the justice for the victims? The democracy is weakened!”
The artificial colonization of different communities in the habitual habitat of their original community should be stopped and such colonization should be allowed to take place in time to come with integration, he said.
“And so, we feel that it can be accepted that the North and East were the areas in which the Tamil community had traditionally lived and the administration, through the democratic structures of these areas, by their own leaders, need not be considered a hindrance to peace and integration or unity. It has to be a two-way track too which welcomes others while being linked to one another through their family and other ties.”
“Unfortunately, the introduction of a large number of administrative and security personnel, who have come from the other areas into North and East, seems to have been understood as that kind of attempted colonization by the Government. We feel that this policy could be counterproductive to true integration and unity and should be changed. If not, it could only lead to further tension and future violence. Such intermingling indeed should take place, but in a gradual and natural way as has happened in some areas in the south already,” the Cardinal stressed.
“In order to achieve such integration the policy of trilingualism should be introduced vigorously and all school children and youth be encouraged to study not only their own mother tongue and another major language, including the link language English.”
The Cardinal said that they were not biased towards anyone but were expressing their concern for the betterment of the country. He added that the economic progress was not a progress if the human beings were not concerned in the development.
The press briefing was mainly organized to publicize the Churches’ Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka to reveal the Catholics’ stance on the burning issues of the Sri Lankans, under the theme, “Towards The Reconciliation and Rebuilding of Our Nation.’
The first letter had been publicized in 1984 by the then Bishops. The new version contains the reflections of the Bishops’ conference.
(Courtesy: The Island)
I give you credit for rightly stating that the West should not intervene in SL problem as they had caused massive destruction in the Middle East and Afghanistan. In my view USA through its CIA had destabilised these countries by supporting, funding, arming and training insurgents against legitimate governments who opposed the imperial West in order to topple them. Thereby the West has caused terrible bloodshed, suffering and refugee situations.
However, I take strong exception to your declaration with the council of Bishops that the GOSL is ‘colonising’ the N & E through large numbers of defence personnel and administrative staff.
N & E ARE NOT SEPARATE COUNTRIES FOR GOSL TO ‘COLONISE’ AS YOU WRONGLY CLAIM.
They are small Provinces of the ONE COUNTRY – SL.
Being ONE COUNTRY AND ONE NATION all citizens of SL are free to migrate and settle down in any part of the country.
‘Colonise’ is the accusation used freely by LTTE and its political stooge TNA because to them N & E are a separate ‘homeland’ of the SL Tamils. Tamil Nadu and diaspora Tamils also follow the same policy. Since LTTE failed militarily to achieve eelam, they are now mobilising imperial West against the GOSL through corrupt of Western leaders, to obtain Tamil autonomy by direct intervention by the imperial West and its puppet organisation, the UNO.
I am astounded and dismayed by your Eminence spouting the same ‘colonisation’ tripe against the GOSL. It makes it worse since you are a Sinhalese under the strong influence of the three Tamil Bishops.
From ancient times N&E were under the rule of SL kings. The Sinhalese had settled in these regions and even built Buddhist temples. Extremist Tamil nationalists had tried to erase this evidence. LTTE drove out and even killed Sinhalese as well as Muslims in large numbers in so-called ethnic cleansing, which was truly genocide by the LTTE. The Tamil eelamists want to build a monoethnic Tamil autonomous State for themselves in the N & E.
Your eminence and the council of Bishops under the influence of the three Tamil Bishops are pandering to this policy. Several RC priests are actively and shamefully engaged in winning ‘eelam’. Enough is enough. They should be expelled from the RC church as their behaviour is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.
The Sinhalese and the Muslims are free to return to their lands in the N & E. The Tamils who have ‘colonised’ Colombo and its suburbs should also be enforced to return to their lands in the N & E if the nationalist Tamils view the Sinhalese who return to their lands in the N are ‘colonising’.
The GOSL has a duty to protect its citizens in the whole country by having police stations and army bases in strategic areas in the whole of the country. The bishops or any other party has no right to condemn it as ‘colonising’. How ridiculous for a person of your erudition to spout like a parrot such propaganda and disinformation of the Tamil nationalists who number less than 0.5% of the population. Don’t forget that the majority of the Tamil population in SL is in the South!
The Catholic Church cannot be trusted as it embraces various strains of theology which conflict with Buddhist philosophy.
The Catholic Church is referring to injustice caused by several wars in the world bu have they ever raised their Vatican voices agaist the perpetrators?
Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist Nation firmly grounded in the principles of Buddhism. Unfortunately, it is not spread evenly across our lands; this gives rise to claims of migrant citizens to homelands.
The conclusion of the war against Tamil terrorism and the elimination of the Tamil terrorist movement, Sri Lanka has a window of opportunity to ensure evenness of Buddhist influence distribution.
This should be pursued relentlessly to achieve Sinhala Buddhist influence in the north and East.