23 October, 2020

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Archbishop Of Canterbury Announces New Bishop Of Colombo

The next Bishop of Colombo will be Fr Dushantha Rodrigo, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced today.

Archbishop Justin was asked by the Diocesan Council to select its next Diocesan bishop in accordance with its constitution, when they found themselves unable to do so last month. He did this in his capacity as Metropolitan of the Church of Ceylon.

Fr. Dushantha Rodrigo

The Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I am pleased to announce that Fr Dushantha is to be the next Bishop of Colombo. I congratulated him personally by telephone on Friday and am glad to declare my support for him publicly today.

“Please accept my apologies that it has taken me a little time to understand the needs of the diocese, and to identify the qualities that will be needed in its next bishop. I am most grateful to all those who have expressed their views to me so clearly and candidly – not only the members of the formal Consultative Body but also members of the Diocesan Standing Committee, former bishops, and many more.

“All have given me invaluable insights, and I am confident that in reliance on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Fr Dushantha will find the strength he will need to lead and reconcile this lively church ‘at such a time as this’ in united witness to the love of Christ amid all the social, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity in the communities that will be in his care.

“I should say that although I regard it as a privilege to have been entrusted with this important function in the life of the Church of Ceylon, as its ‘Metropolitan’, it is not a role I have sought, or feel comfortable having to exercise. In my view, it carries too many reminders of a colonial past. I have therefore sought and obtained from Fr Dushantha his assurance that he will give urgent priority to enabling the Church of Ceylon to take its proper place as a fully independent province in the life of the wider Anglican Communion.

“So I commend Fr Dushantha to your prayers as he embarks on this demanding new stage in his ministry.”

Fr Dushantha said today: “The Church of Ceylon Diocese of Colombo in all its richness and vibrant faith is called upon to witness as it has done through the past 175 years as a community that will strive to be obedient to the gospel in its walk of faith and service in the days to come.

“As we look to the next decade in the midst of new realities our lives must reflect what God is doing in our midst at this point of time. To a God who has been gracious and merciful we need to sing an unending hymn of praise and extend to one another a magnanimous gesture of kindness that will carry us through to be faithful in the midst of many a challenge.

“Our people who are so diverse live side by side and strive to bring meaning to every moment and we are truly blessed to be part of that life giving diversity.”

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Latest comments

  • 11
    3

    For one rare moment, justice has prevailed.

  • 8
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    Congratulations, Fr Dushantha.
    .
    You were the most suitable person and possess all the qualities necessary to fulfil the onerous tasks you will be called upon to perform.
    .
    It is important to note WHY Archbishop Welby has felt the need to emphasise that we should be free from the control of Canterbury.
    .
    I pray that God will be your guide in all that you have to do.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

  • 15
    2

    I rejoice in the diocese’s choice for Bishop being respected. However, I am deeply distressed about what the episode has taught me about my Church. We just came back from the brink. The election was held on 15 Aug. 2020. What happened since then to today, 28th?

    Heavy lobbying was done by the outgoing authorities. Two officials in the administration were responsible for corrupting the diocese, teaching how to buy over people through financial largesse and giving twisted legal opinions to let diocesan authorities have their unlawful way. The overwhelming vote against Bishop’s candidate was for this reason.

    The Archbishop was told that if appointed, Fr. Rodrigo would sack the officials and this would disrupt the Church. I understand the Archbishop asked Fr. Rodrigo if this was so. Under continuing pressure, Fr. Bilimoria was offered the job by the Archbishop while his sponsors pressured him to accept. Fair sense prevailed and Bilimoria declined. It tells me that the Archbishop will side with the establishment, overriding justice and the choice of ordinary Christians.

    • 7
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      Jaffna Man

      “It tells me that the Archbishop will side with the establishment, overriding justice and the choice of ordinary Christians.”

      Why bother if Friedrich Nietzsche was right when he said “God is Dead”?

      • 2
        0

        I am certain that Nietzsche is dead.

  • 7
    5

    I thought we got rid of the colonialism!
    but it still lives on in Catholism?

    • 7
      6

      If you don’t know the difference between Catholicism and Anglicanism why bother to comment?

    • 8
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      Rajesh
      Don’t get your nickers in a twist.
      This has nothing to do with Catholicism.
      Anglican church is different from Catholic church, they are two different believers.

      • 0
        1

        ha ha that is funny in the context of my post.
        so let me correct my post

  • 16
    3

    Colonialism should not be an issue here. The Anglican Church prides itself in being a worldwide church. If we are desirous of having priests and bishops who would inspire and lead us, we should welcome bishops and clergy from Africa and the Caribbean as well. I think we have been well-served by our English bishops and priests. Our last English bishop was Archibald Graham-Campbell, who was widely respected. From the clerical talk I remember, the call for a local bishop was mainly from a nationalist standpoint. Of the chaplains I knew, Canon A.J. Foster was outstanding. It is often easy for a local to get caught up in our internal pettiness.

    • 10
      1

      This is a national trait that the majority Sri Lankans think in narrow terms and hence It is often easy for a local to get caught up in our internal pettiness.
      This ‘ailment’ is prevalent even in the judiciary so that the call for foreign judges was quite justified.

    • 5
      7

      Rajan – “Colonialism should not be an issue here.”

      UK Government is thinking of dropping the E from MBE and OBE etc. Order of the Britsh Empire for example.

      Barbados is dropping Queen as their head of state.

      Sri Lanka became a republic and got rid of the Queen as the Head of State.

      But the empire still lives on in the Catholic religion

      Why is the need for catholic religion to still have a hierarchy to the the Archbishop of Canterbury?

  • 4
    0

    I hope and pray that unity will prevail within the stated religious establishment from this point onwards. In its own way it has contributed to the well being of the Sri Lankan society and is the hallmark that should be remembered. Although in one of the comments here mentioned about an alternative candidate named but declined by the nominee the official statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury gives a different complexion and his wish in other words not to be a part of this exercise in the future is an indication that His Grace’s explanation being genuine and therefore acceptable.

    • 2
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      Please see if this opens correctly. I’ve listened to it twice. It is about three and a half minutes of Youtube of Justin Welby speaking with more detail than is available in the wrtitten report.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=mFd6lRvsyH0&feature=emb_title
      .
      He names the following clerics, for instance: Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Perry Brohier, Marc Billimoria. What he says is clear, but I’m not going to read all sorts of meanings into what went on for over a month.
      .
      He mentions reconcilliation. The need for that, throughout the country – and maybe throughout the world – is clear enough. But I leave it to individual listeners to decide whether his reference to us being a “great nation” should be taken literally or tongue-in-cheek.
      .
      We, as a country, would do well to forget quibbling and get our act together.
      .
      Amen!

    • 1
      1

      Yes, it does open from the link that I’ve given: 3 minutes 53 seconds.
      .
      I’m not the most fervent of believers myself, but I hope that those who read through all this give it serious thought. There is reference to historical events in the article, and in the comments. I really feel that we are in the mess we are in, because we read (and listen to) too much, almost as entertainment, without cogitating sufficiently on the implications.
      .
      Apologies if I’m being rather a wet blanket!

  • 3
    2

    Thank god. Justice has prevailed and my church and religion has been saved from unscrupulous people

  • 2
    2

    PART A
    .
    My appeal
    to you:  let’s get our parameters right.
    .
    There are eight comments displayed as I type.   Mine is perhaps the least responsible, since it’s just a cry of triumph, after a long hard fight – a storm in a tea-cup as far as the country goes.
    .
    We are talking here of the Anglican Church of Ceylon (which is, confusingly, “Catholic”).    For most Sri Lankans that keyword is associated with the Roman Catholic Church, headed here by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.
    .
    The word “Catholic” denotes “worldwide”, “broad” “all-embracing because liberal”.   For me, a creed cannot summarise all that “religion” means – but it is useful. . 
    Anglicans use the Nicene Creed which dates from 325 A.D.   The English version has the statement:  “And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church”.  Words before and after that.   Let’s try to understand, and not argue!    Let’s recognise, and then consciously forget that the political break with Rome came because of Henry VIII “and all that” (1534 A.D.).
    .
    https://www.history.com/news/henry-viii-divorce-reformation-catholic-church
    .

  • 2
    2

    PART B
    .
    The Anglican Church
    traces its origins back, through the Church in Rome, to its founding by the twelve Apostles of Jesus.   Something like that!  I’m no expert, and others there will be who can present this more accurately.   However, to many readers, what I’m saying here as plainly as possible may come as a useful explanation.
    .
    Its Colonial roots are obvious – and the Archbishop says that he is uncomfortable with that heritage.  I don’t think that “Jaffna Man’s” fear that the Archbishop will side with the Establishment is justified.  

    .
    Archbishop Welby has taken a long time but ultimately agreed with local views.
    .
    The Church wants to drop “Ceylon”.   “Sri Lanka” has to be substituted, but let us recognise that even our current name for the country is an over-assertion:  “Sri” meaning “blessed”.   Let’s put that also behind us.

  • 2
    2

    PART C
    .

    Where does the Church go from here?   With its tiny membership, its relatively vast wealth in terms of real estate.   Education was once controlled by the Church – in Colonial times.  Royal College, Colombo 7 was an Anglican school.   <
    All that is past.   We are no longer educating the average Sri Lankan.   The Church still controls a handful of schools;  they are among the most renowned in the country.  
    .
    If we become a “Province” we may end up top-heavy with senior clerics doing nothing useful. However, the Archbishop is right in saying that there have to be fundamental changes in the structure of the Church.
    .
    What should we now do?    In many senses, the Church is enviably placed.   Huge responsibilities on Dushantha Rodrigo.
    .
    When he becomes Rt Rev. Dushanthat Rodrigo, 16th Anglican Bishop of Colombo, he will be the key person in charge of institutions which ought to play an important, if limited, role in the life of our country.   Let those who will, pray for him; let others try to understand and help.

  • 5
    2

    Thank God, the Ceylon Church has finally resolved its problem with the help of its metropolitan authority in Canterbury. It was timely too – they just managed to avert a major embarrassment. Because the word was that a three-member special commission was in the works to fix the naughty Anglican boys. It was to be comprised of Ampitiye Sumanarathana, M. Ranjith and Wiggy. Ampitiye was to be the chair person and chief enforcer. Thanks to the prayers, Canterbury was able to enforce good behaviour and avert a mega PR disaster. By the same token, one wonders wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a similar foreign enforcer to discipline our wild boys in Saffron.

    • 4
      0

      “Thank God, the Ceylon Church has finally resolved its problem”

      which God are you thanking?

  • 9
    1

    Kudos to the Archbishop for a well made decision. It is remarkable the way he went about the whole business in order that there could be no doubt. So the best man has now won and the onus is upon him to prove himself. May he live up to anticipations and carry out his responsibilities impartially. He would do well to avoid the company of sycophants and leeches as are wont to bum suck those in authority. He augurs well for most of us and we foresee a peaceful, happy and blessed Anglican community ahead of us. May he not be lured by lucre and may he not lose the common touch. May he be filled with the Holy Spirit and may he acknowledge God as the ultimate authority and thereby submit himself to Him. Other than that with his quiet yet bubbly personality and simple unassuming ways it looks like the going’s gonna be good. May God hold him in the palm of His hand and may he go from strength to strength!

    • 4
      0

      There are many things that could be said about the incoming Bishop, but one thing I can personally attest to through two decades of nodding acquaintance with the man is that he is incorruptible and will certainly not be attracted by any filthy lucre. Just the sort that is sorely lacking in our country overall today.

  • 4
    1

    The Archbishop is not to be praised. He did the right thing only after failing in his attempt to thwart the will of the Diocesan Council by offering the job to those rejected by the Council.

    Time to clean up. All those who campaigned after the election to not appoint Fr. Rodrigo must go. The Secretary and Registrar of the diocese must go.

    The Archdeacons who took the Rs. 10 million allocation each for a motorcar should go. Archdeacon Sam Ponniah goes around campaigning that there is a lot of money in trust for their use. I remind him that there also was trust for lunch for children that soon became inadequate because lunch-costs went well above what was specified in the trust. The Church got a court order to revise the trust. Likewise, it is a simple matter to ask courts to alter the trust saying it is vulgar for the Bishop and Archdeacons to take that money for themselves when members and priests are poor, and they themselves are well-looked-after.

    The Archdeacons who agreed to Ponniah (the most aggressive and manipulative of the archdeacons) chairing the Council when the rules require the senior-most archdeacon to do so, must go for lack of backbone. The Registrar bears responsibility.

    • 0
      0

      Good Heavens, “Jaffna Man”,
      .
      Those are pretty drastic demands, even if pseudonymous.
      .
      On the other hand, your fellow Jaffna guy, Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, whom I know reasonably well, has written a number of articles, in which he has taken full responsibility for what he has said. The last was this:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-church-of-ceylon-fails-to-elect-its-bishop-for-colombo/
      .
      What you say agrees with many of the points he had made there. Something tangible must be done!
      .
      I think that it would be good if Archbishop Welby understands that Prof. RatnaJEEVAN Hoole has been playing a prominent part in the turbulent politics of our country – at the risk of nothing less than his life! This is one of many articles.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-the-presidential-election-free-and-fair-when-colombo-returning-officer-called-sajith-premadasa-the-son-of-a-donkey-asks-prof-hoole/
      .
      Bishop Welby has been more candid than most, but I agree that given the very clear result in this “Bishop Election” there was no room for vacillation, although giving ear to other views was welcome.
      .
      I have no real problem with the time taken. He has asked for “reconcilers” – well the Hooles are Tamils, and I’m a Sinhalese.
      .
      Regarding some less momentous issues raised by me, I shall write separately.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

  • 0
    0

    .
    Comments here will soon cease. The window is only for seven days, exactly. The timing is done by the CT servers.
    .
    You will be able to make comments for two days more here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/my-role-as-archbishop-of-canterbury-appointing-bishop-of-colombo/
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (National Identity Card number 48 3111 444V) aka “Sinhala_Man”

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