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Foreign assistance vital to develop country – Cardinal

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said Sri Lanka needed foreign assistance to make the lives of the people of this island prosperous.

Holy Mass was offered at St. Antony’s Church in Padua on Sunday (1) when Catholics celebrated the feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the working class. Cardinal Ranjith said however that the Holy Mass was being offered with the 2019 Easter Sunday victims at St. Antony’s Basilica, Padua with a symbolic meaning. One of the churches that were bombed during the attack was St. Antony’s Shrine Kochchikade, he said.     

Speaking to the media, his Eminence observed that international support was required at this juncture – especially because of the predicament the country was in. “We need to be truthful at times like this. We expect the Government to have a straightforward attitude and act independently in all matters including the Easter carnage,” he said.

That was why the Sri Lankan Catholic Church had thought of bringing its voice to the international arena. Nearly 35 victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks had been to the Vatican City to raise their voices before Pope Francis to help them uncover the true nature of the attack last Monday (25).

Speaking to the media from the Vatican City, the Head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church lamented that even though three years had lapsed following the Easter attacks, there was still a tendency for the Government and its Intelligence services to investigate only some facts while hiding the rest under the carpet. “We cannot accept that,” he said stressing that people wanted to know what happened and who was behind the attacks.

The Cardinal said that this had been the main idea behind the Church’s move to bring at least some of the victims before the Pontiff who was the World leader of the Catholic Church.

Fielding questions as to whether the Holy Father would assist Sri Lanka in gaining justice for the 21 April 2019 Eater Sunday attack victims, he said that the world cannot shut its ears to the voice of the Holy Father as he was a world- religious leader. “We have gone to the international community and the Human Rights Council in Geneva. We hope that with that and with help from the Pontiff, we would be able to unravel evidence regarding the Easter tragedy.

Responding to questions with regard to the economic crisis, Cardinal Ranjith said that the Christian Community of Sri Lanka should pray that the country would not deteriorate any further. Also, we should try our best to see a democratic system established in our country and not dictatorship,” he said. An independent, law-abiding, country that eliminates corruption, promotes unity, tolerance and mutual acceptance, despite the diversity of the people should be created. But to do so there should be a change in the programme of the current regime, he said.

Cardinal Ranjith, who is also the Archbishop of Colombo, said all communities hoped to see the establishment of an independent country, upholding the Law and elimination of corruption. He said unity, tolerance and mutual acceptance, should be established despite the diversity of the people.

There should be a change in the programme and of the current regime and not attempts to suppress protests, the Head of the Catholic Church said, noting that  to move forward there should be a change of heart. “Our country will fall into slavery should it go on as it is now,” he lamented.

the tour group led by Cardinal Ranjith was expected to return to Sri Lanka on 3 May 2022.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne