Feature Article

Archbishop praying for united Sri Lanka speaks on ‘we and they’

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 August 2011, 10:57 GMT]
His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, while presiding and addressing the feast of Our Lady of Madu in Mannaar on Monday, wished a miracle to come from Our Lady to make people of the country respect the rights and identity of one another. The Cardinal who preached in Sinhala lamented that even after finishing 30 years of war still we talk about peace within a divided framework. He prayed for a united Sri Lanka. The Catholic Archbishop for the entire island didn’t conceal his identity going with the Sinhalese when he said, “As Sinhalese, we need to think of political rights and social needs of the Tamil and Muslims in the North. […] Although this country is one by law, it is still divided in hearts. It is still clear that the people of North do not think like the people of South. We need to work flexible ways to win their hearts.”

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith prayed for Sinhala and Tamil leaders of the island to make sacrifices and to make commitments to build up a united nation.

He favoured even taking steps to bring such necessary changes in the Constitution for a flexible democracy in Sri Lanka.

He was subtle on war crimes investigation:

“We need to abandon the idea of taking revenge from the enemy,” he said.

“The glory of the historical personalities shows us to forgive, if there is an error. Without being afraid of international criticisms, we need to have a prudent mind to find out the truth and false of such criticisms against our country. If we go on rejecting everything, we could be isolated in this small island in the world. Then we could fall into an uncontrollable situation,” he said.

“We should not be frightened to face the truth. Without solving our own problems among ourselves, by pushing or allowing others to take the problems of our country to the international level, will damage the image of our country,” he further said.

“No religion or a culture will approve persecution of others or insulting others or taking revenge from others, or be indifferent to others or trample down another. There is no inner righteousness, if someone is involved in such activities,” observed the Archbishop.

"Culture and language is a way for us to unite ourselves, but today we are making using of them to create divisions among us,” he lamented.

An entire belt of Tamil Catholics in the Northwest and Western Provinces was replaced of its language and culture and was Sinhalicised in the last century through elite and Church decisions in schooling as well as in conducting Masses.

The language replacement of people and Church in the western belt caused much tension whenever the people of the western belt came to make fishing settlements in the north and east. Earlier they were almost a homogenous people.

The Catholic Church headquartered in Colombo taking some steps in resurrecting Tamil language among the former Tamil Catholics of the western belt, or at least making them bilingual, would help in a big way in setting inspirations to bring in the trends desired by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjth to all peoples in the island, commented a Tamil Catholic in Mannaar.

The Church of Our Lady at Madu originated when a young girl of Jaffna brought an idol of Our Lady to Mannaar as the Dutch after conquering the Portuguese persecuted Catholics in Jaffna.

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