7 December, 2022

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Cardinal Blunders Should Worry The Catholics 

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“The Cardinal, in effect though unwittingly, became a status lender to a rabid gang of racists on the march”

Loves the Limelight

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith seems to be loving the limelight and the glow, however spooky, of politics. I have pointed out before how His Eminence has a penchant for popping up in public affairs when he shouldn’t and avoiding intervention when he should intervene. In terms of timing and appropriateness His Eminence doesn’t fair well. 

This time, the Archdiocese in Colombo has, perhaps, realized the Cardinal needs defense and it issues a statement refuting Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s charge. That isn’t enough to cover what seems evidently clear was an intervention that should have been  avoided.

Our Cardinal should have not rushed to pay his respects to the fasting Revd Athuraliye Rathana.

Protocol

Firstly, the Cardinal violated a sense of protocol. The incident was pretty, prosaic and ordinary with no high level involvement at all. The protocol at Cardinal level is on general par with the Mahanayakes, the President and Prime Minister. Such protocol can be set aside for interventions of a universally humane nature like caring for the sick. It is pertinent to know that even the Malwatte Chapter had not given their blessings to the monk who chose the doorstep of the great temple to ‘fast unto death.’ Not a single of the other Mahanayakes took any notice. Buddhist organisations ignored.Not a single respected  public figure had come to exhibit solidarity. Yet, here we see our Cardinal hopping there and, worse, making a political speech.

Besides, Sri Lankans don’t take fasts-unto- death seriously because, as Wimal Weerawansa dramatised some years back under Rajapaksa rule, these fasters have no intention of dying. So it was with Revd Athuraliye.

Revd Athuraliye Rathana

I deliberately refer to this monk with the prefix ‘reverend,’ because he is a well-ordained and educated monk with a record of excellent personal behaviour and a mentor to many in the past. Revd Atharaliye Rathana has himself ordained many a monk local and foreign who speak well of the ‘guru.’

That was his past. His sojourn, later, into the shit world of Sri Lankan politicians was a case of sleeping with the dogs and getting ticks on the body. 

Even in politics, however, we cannot forget his role in forcefully breaking into the Mavil Aru Dam that had been blocked by Prabhakaran. While even Mahinda and his men got cold feet, Revd Athuraliye forced the rupture of the dam in order to let the water flow into the thousands of acres of paddy. This incident was really the trigger point of the war that even Mahinda preferred avoiding at that time.

Politics and its untruth has soiled a good monk. The potential for power has aroused a natural greed that, as remarked by the Buddha, that we men and women do innately possess. This is where this monk now is. He has switched parties from UPFA to UNP and now he seems to be in limbo searching for opportunities. He has been looking for causes and now he has got one.

The Cardinal’s Office

This is an office at the top level of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a position whose incumbent must at all times hold with dignity and without space for ordinary people to call in question and spit on. Our Cardinal had also been picked by Rome to join the small cluster of Cardinals who had to select the last Pope. What a sacrosanct position!

Mangala Samaraweera

On this occasion, it was not an ordinary citizen but a senior Minister matured in politics for many, many years who felt himself impelled to complain about Cardinal Malcolm Ranjth. 

Mangala Samaraweera is no Wimal Weerawansa or Gammanpila. He speaks forthrightly, but after much thought. He is the one who recently had the courage to state that Sri Lanka is not a ‘Sinhala Buddhist country.’ Mangala has at all times been beyond communalism, advocating a Lanka that belongs to all its inhabitants. He is not a cheap politician who has a bent for populism. He is a Minister who has excelled in every job assigned to him. Mangala loves to drive home the truth, as he sees it. He has never robbed ever and this is rare for Lankan pollies.

In this instance, Mangala tweeted the papal office about what he saw as an action by the Cardinal that can be interpreted as one giving  an impetus to the firming of gathering communalist sentiments in the country, particularly at a time when racism was been engineered on a wide scale by political forces.

I cannot see how the statement of the Archdiocese can call Mangala in question. The Archdiocese statement, as reported in today’s ( 5/6/19) Daily Mirror, asserts that His Eminence Malcolm Ranjith visited the fasting monk because he read the latter’s action as one “on behalf of the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks demanding the expediting of the outcome of the investigations that are underway and the removal from office of two governors and a cabinet minister who are alleged to have had close ties with those responsible for extremist terrorist activities in Sri Lanka.”

Archdiocese  Statement Misleads

I am afraid, the Archdiocese’ defence misleads. The fast had been only with one demand and that is that the two governors and cabinet Ministers be removed forthwith.The monk gave 24 hours notice to the government and then started the fast. Now, all these three persons in public office were Muslim. The monk demanded that they be removed without even an investigation.

Why no investigation? Because they were Muslim? How else can anybody with commonsense read this?

Contextual Background very Pertinent

Furthermore, it is very pertinent to take an account of the contextual background of the fast. In the background, was the widespread arousal of anti-Muslim emotions. Muslims shops in Kandy and in many towns of the country had to close down depriving these traders and their workers of their livelihood. Sinhala Buddhist mafia jingoism was on the march.

The jailbird monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara was breathing fire and we all know he had a dark history of allegations of lashing Muslims. Gnanasara announced that if the fasting monk’s demands are not met within 24 hours he would ensure a ‘carnival of fireworks,’ throughout the island. Newspapers reported that the final act of this  raucous gang would be to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s elected government. Gnanasara said that.

His Eminence the Cardinal has obviously not perceived all these ramifications when he decided to pay homage to the monk; he didn’t take a look at the wider context. He should have. Consequently, he unavoidably gets associated with all these gangs and sinister forces. The Cardinal’ in effect though unwittingly, became a status lender to a rabid gang of racists on the march.

Political Character

The above considerations point out clearly that the fasting incident had not been an isolated one but one with a clearly political character  having threatening implications for our democracy and our healthy body politic.

President Sirisena suddenly releasing Gnanasara from jail and the Athuraliye fast following on the heels of that controversial pardon seemed ominous to the politically savvy. 

The Opposition demand to pressurise and bring down the government is well known and the involvement of some Pohottuwa politicians in the riots has been documented. 

The Cardinal’s Political Howler

In this context I would say that the Cardinal made a howler of huge proportion by making public a political assessment asserting, as he did, a blatantly political statement: “A country belongs to the people; not to the rulers.” To make such a statement during this visit to the fasting monk was unwarranted. He meant that the current government leaders think that the country belongs to them. To be fair by the government it has thus far acted within a democratic framework and has expressed commitment to quit if the electorate wants it that way at elections. This is, in fact, the polar opposite of the Rajapakse government both during office and out of office as was evident when they joined President Sirisena in a constitutional coup for 52 days until they were booted out by parliament.

Incidentally, while numerous leaders opposed that illegal move we didn’t see Cardinal Malcolm say anything. A man like him so fond of speaking on public issues should have opposed the violation of the constitution. He did not. On many an issue like this where the violators were the Rajapaksas His Eminence observed silence, giving us the impression that the Cardinal is being driven by political agendas. 

Conclusion

Such a supposition tied up with the inappropriate visit to the fasting monk may constitute a whistleblower which the Archdiocese should seriously take a look at.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    25

    Ranil’s blunders, crimes and attitudes should not worry the UNP and Uncle Shymon !

  • 24
    2

    Since we now have Buddhist monks in Parliament will the day come when we will also see Christian Clergy, Hindu Priests and Muslim Clerics sitting in Parliament. Politics is the name of the game.

    • 9
      10

      Hindu priests in this country will never dabble in politics like Islamic Mullahs, the Catholic clergy and the Buddhist monks!

      • 0
        0

        Correction Please : It is only the Catholic clergy that is involved in politics. NOT the Clergy of other Christian denominations.

    • 3
      0

      S.
      The obvious has to be stressed.
      It’s POLITICS or PODITRICKS.
      Cheers.

    • 14
      2

      Steve – Currently there are two, Venereal Gandasara and Cardinal Malcolm Rajapaksa and more to follow suit!

    • 2
      0

      Shannon,

      Religion is the opium of the masses, said the Philosopher, lover of wisdom, Karl Marx, and with a mean IQ of 79 of the Paras, instead of Age of Enlightenment and Reason, the Monks and the clergy are taking the land to the dark ages.

      This Cardinal is a Traitor, a Judas, just like those Popes who collaborated with the Nazis. Catholics should petition the Pope to dismiss this Cardinal Malcolm , the political animal, as he is pandering to the curse of Lanka, the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist “ Monks, who are a curse of the Land and an Insult to the Buddha and his teachings.

      Is this Cardinal, a Cardinal of the Devil? The Monks follow MaRa, not Buddha.

  • 14
    21

    //Mangala Samaraweera is no Wimal Weerawansa or Gammanpila. He speaks forthrightly, but after much thought.// LOL. This octogenarian writer must have slipped his memory. Hence he cannot remember how Mangy’s “kurundu polu hamudava” or Cinnamon Pole army had treated some protesters in Matara. Poor soul still shopping to already dead yahapalanaya!

    • 21
      9

      max

      Where are you?
      Have you gone back inside Gnanasara’s amude?

      • 7
        4

        NV – BTW, Mad Max is talking while sniffing and sniffing Gandasara’s amude!

    • 26
      1

      Max,

      Why bother if Shyamon is an octogenerian or a teenager? What matters is the substance of his input.

      The entire Rathana saga was ugly. It was open blackmail. Not the stuff which goes to showcase a progressive country in this 21st century. The Cardinal with his crazily unbelieable visitation simply gave credence to an otherwise high handed act by a priest who – given his learning – should have known better.

      If cardinal Malcolm Ranjit came off with flying colours during the Easter massacre, he considerably lowered them this time. The two mahanayakes were by comparison, stately, and quite unwilling to play to the gallery. The Cardinal was in judicious, and it showed.

      People in this country must come forward and speak their .minds at least now. The truth can be unpopular and very bitter, but it is the truth.

      • 2
        1

        Justice & Fairplay

        max has been suffering from arrested development for many many years.
        We cannot help him even if we wanted.

    • 4
      0

      Very. Well analysed. Malcolm Ranjith never fell. He was already fallen

  • 25
    2

    Important to note that the fake PM – MR visited the Cardinal for a cordial con chat just after the Oct coup. They seemed to be Hand-In -Glove.Obviously the Cardinal endorsed the coup.

    • 20
      4

      Cardinals soft corner to Rajapaksas is very well known to Catholics. Yet immediately after the Easter bombing of Churches Cardinal’s behavior and utterance to control the Catholics were commendable. Howevr after observing whole issue and its complexity as well fragmented government even the power of the government being very much polarized between President and the Cabinet, it’s quite clear that security and law and order matters being held by the president with strict instructions to police and forces not to coordinate with PM and Cabinet has led many lapses. Being quite clear, what was going on, uttrence and acts of Cardinal appears to be cheap politics. In this connection, I honestly feel,what was commented by Summanthiran is quite appropriate. Yesterday there were problems for some, today for some others. Who can say it’s not going to be another religious group. In this context, what written by Mangala (else where in Colombo Telegraph)appears to quite relevant for Cardinal to understand. If not repercussions of this Cardinal sin would only only would be experienced by poor Catholics again.

      • 3
        0

        His soft corner to the Rajapaksa’s was only too obvious when he permitted one of the siblings to marry in a Church, 4 days after a poruwa ceremony, and wear the bride was permitted to wear a front veil. This is contrary to the rigid formalities other Catholics have to undergo, to formalize a wedding in a Church.

  • 22
    4

    This cardinal seems to be driven by his personal agenda right throughout this episode. I do not pin a lot of faith on the public claim that it was his call that contributed significantly to the prevention of an immediate backlash by the Christian community. The restraint came from within the catholic community of the area. It was Easter Sunday. They wouldn’t have done it; the shock, the pain, the loss was sufficient to hold them back and instead care and attend to their loved ones. When the cardinal’s first statement to hunt down mercilessly was broadcast, I immediately phoned a niece of mine who had two sons- two young men. Her response was that already they had left for the Katuwapitiya church, to help out. No, aunty. We will not cause any problem was her reply to my concerns about a backlash. This must have been the frame of mind of most of the Catholics in the area. In contrast to this self discipline, compassion and understanding of the catholic community at large, the cardinal’s actions, at least to me, do not seem to reflect an impartial, peace-promoting frame of mind. Hence, I appreciate Mr Mangala Samaraweera’s concern and consequently his tweet to the Vatican.

    • 1
      0

      Fully agree with you. Shock and pain was uttermost in everyone’s mind, not retaliation. Though there are bad eggs in all communities who could have been pushed to riot, like you, I believe that a majority Christians would never go out to attack others. If they were looking for violence, they would have done so even when the Cardinal called for calm. Remember his first words at St. Anthony’s ” Punish mercilessly.” Obviously he would have been told he was out of line, because he changed his stand after that. A large number of people even helping the Muslim and Christian refugees who were affected by the Easter sunday attacks are Christians. The Cardinals actions since then too are questionable. More politics that Christian teaching.

  • 10
    25

    It is blatantly obvious that the writer is sucking up to MS and RW and his party. His eminence is the only class act here therefore it is respectfully suggested that the church and his eminence not be dragged into this political quagmire.

    • 4
      0

      It is this ‘so called’ cardinal who has dragged himself and the church into this quagmire, by his un-wanted and un-warranted involvement in politics.

  • 5
    12

    Ranil’s blinders are much more than any one else’s.

  • 21
    6

    Superb piece! Cardinal Malcolm should be driven out of the Church

  • 19
    0

    ” when they joined President Sirisena in a constitutional coup for 52 days until they were booted out by parliament.

    Incidentally, while numerous leaders opposed that illegal move we didn’t see Cardinal Malcolm say anything.”

    Our Cardinal was one of the very first few to rush and congratulate MR on his back door entry to his Premiership back in October.

  • 12
    0

    Religious leaders , monks and other faith followers (priests) must concentrate on their own duties and responsibilities.

    If they want to do politics they should leave their priesthood and monkhood to join with politicians.

    Now whole country is in chaos and this conflict is entangled.
    This complicated situation is dangerous.

    All Muslim Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers have resigned from their portfolios.
    If Rathana and his supports think that they have won the game, that would be a utter foolishness.
    Ultimately what we can say is…SIRISENA MUST BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING NOW

    • 7
      1

      Please note the statement issued today by Tri nikaya Maha Sanga today. This is a most responsible statement considering the situation in the country.

      • 7
        0

        Re: Tri Nikaya Maha Sanga’s statement …
        Too little …too late.

        • 5
          0

          K N
          It’s always late; nothing new!

      • 1
        0

        In the wake of the statement from the Maha Sangha of all Chapters, Malcolm Ranjith has become an ASSBishop

  • 8
    14

    Shaymon Jayasingha for your information.
    It’s better if Mangala concentrates on his finance ministry and try to get this country out of the financial mess he and his govt put into. His job is not to argue with religious leaders or criticize them.
    Please advice him accordingly without
    trying to create problems here from your adopted home country.

  • 16
    1

    His eminence clearly have overstepped his boundaries by showing solidarity with a monk who was trying to oust duly elected cabinet minister through arm twisting tactics against president and PM.
    What if catholic priest or Muslim Mousavi decides tomorrow to fast unto death with demands of removing leader of opposition as an example due to his belief that Podujana perumana was behind the recent Minuwangoda attacks on shops??
    Would Cardinal support those actions ??
    I am sure the answer is No as those allegations without concreate evidence .But then why he visited Rathana himi.

  • 5
    13

    Mr Jayasinghe you have got it wrong. The Cardinal did the correct thing by visiting the Buddhist Monk. We people of Negombo and all peace loving Srilankan felt that the Government is not doing their best to punish those behind this carnage on Easter Sunday. At least we should appreciate this Buddhist Monk came forward to push the government to take some action. People in Negombo is grateful to the Rev Monk for taking the initiative to go that far on behalf of all the people who suffered at the hand of those ruthless terrorist. We are the people who suffered , we are the people who lost loved once. You may not feel how the people effected feel. Therefor please don’t use your pen to hurt same people who suffered because of the failure of the Politician that you adore.

  • 5
    11

    His Eminence has done more for the grace of the nation than any other, he rushed to guide the people at a very turbulent time. In comparison it took him several days to visit the monk on Sunday, two days after the fast.
    Had the Cardinal failed to send at least an emissary he and the church would have been subject to criticism. The first act of a Bishop, Cardinal or Pope is to wash the feet of commoners.
    In fact, the Cardinal also visited Muslims and mosques after the riots. Is this minister going to complain to the Mahanayaka about Buddhist monks creating divisions in society by helping Christian victims and places of worship. He has something personal against the Cardinal and has over stepped his mark. He is susceptible to such delusions, remember Alimankada and Pamankada.

    .

  • 3
    3

    Does anyone know what the Cardinal said to the Thera? May be the Cardinal went to forgive the Thera for his sins and pray so he may not to be borne again and not to enter the fiery place.

    • 0
      1

      There is a saying in Tamil which means “even if you drink milk under the Palmyra tree people will assume you consumed arrack”. I hope you know this.

  • 7
    8

    Every body knows Shayman ‘s love for Ranil and Mangala. There is nothing wrong what cardinal done. why do not criticise Ranil for keeping Baudeen as a minister. Any way this article is your opinion. It does not mean you are right.

  • 3
    0

    What can you expect from a man, the so called cardinal, who put race before religion. He did because he wanted more favours from rajapakas clan. Remember he got a high position for his niece when mahinda was in power. He has some more relatives who need to be placed high up in the civil service who knows. Remember he congratulated mahinda when he was illegally made PM last October ! why did he do that?

    • 2
      0

      ………and he kept silent when the picture of the Holy Father was used alongside Mahinda Rajapakse at the last presidential election campaign.

  • 0
    4

    Mangala might have told the writer to attack Cardinal. You can write your opinion but people will not listen . Because President, Ranil and Rajapkshe and the Cabinet supported the Muslim terrorists to get the Muslim votes.

    • 2
      0

      Have you forgotten Mr. Ranasinghe that the Rajapaksa regime had made payments to the leadership of the NTJ, as revealed in Parliament.

  • 5
    0

    Charles, who asked your opinion and who cares your opinion. Just read and go. It is up to the readers with commonsense, logic, reasoning power and patriotism to decide the worthiness of the post. Worthiness can only be determined by worthy people. Surely Charles, Gnanasara, Athana, Weermonkey or Gamon-Pulle cannot decide or give opinion on these issues. It is beyond their gray matter. Only good thing that can happen is for Weeramonkey and Gamon-Pulle to shave their heads and adorn sivuru and life will be more meaningful for them. These goons survive on the blood of the innocent. A curse to mother lanka and perhaps the curse by Kuveni for their historic betrayal and back stabbing. A still cannot fathom how human beings are born like these low lives.

  • 1
    3

    S J is always ready to lick back side of RW. So it is natural that he thinks something against RW and allies like Mongal are is to be challenged. SJ is one with a corroded head filled with aggressive but saint look western ideology and values. So his comments are not a surprise.

  • 2
    0

    Has the church changed its views on suicide? I was taught it was a sin.
    Cardinal should go back to his den and sort out the abuse within his church.

  • 1
    3

    WhatCardinal did was a noble genuine gusture.While political parties and leaders are only concentrating on there survival .They have no love for the country or people who they suppose to represent.The country is going to dogs by this terrible incident while politicians are playing roulettes pointing fingers at each other.It is high time all religious leaders get together and take this country on A true noble path leaving no room for corrupt politics.

  • 2
    4

    Now that Mangala has become a ‘loose cannon’ to most Sri Lankans, what this writer in Australia tries to do by continuously writing to CT? After trying to safeguard the Yahapalana PM Ranil for decades, he now tries in vain to safeguard Mongala, the rep of PM in the current case of attacking the Cardinal MR (Malcolm Ranjith).
    The end result of all these idiotic actions by Y-Pala’s PM, his ministers, and collegues/friends living abroad are obvious. There will be no race to run for the Pohottuwa at the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections starting in December this year. Pohottuwa seems to be already elected!
    Majority of my friends are from the Catholic community in SL and abroad, and there will be no vote from them or their families for the UNP this time. For them, Mangala has insulted the Cardinal, and it is like insulting the Almighty God! That’s why Mahinda R has advised Mangala to apologize to the Cardinal.
    Mangala may have his own favored opinions on many issues like his own personal life; but if he is a ‘matured’ (?) politician he should respect the ‘majority view’ with the practical reality; if not, he should go and join the faculty of philosophy in the nearest university and voice his opinions to undergrads who may agree with him as a new chapter of Marx’s ‘Communism’, but, soon after graduating, would ignore such ideas to face the practical life challenges.
    PS: To Those who write comments! Please study and analyse the ground reality in Sri Lanka today, before you make any comments.

  • 0
    0

    Charles
    Not that I’m fan of SJ . Cardinal is not a elected like his good mate married and very devout catholic minister for religious affairs John Viagra Amarthunga from Wattala .
    That is the difference on the other hand how much more one can write about Ranil’s wrong doings enough been written about him to last few generations if he had any offspring’s.

  • 4
    0

    Karl Marx was right when he said ”Religion is the opium of the people.” We see addicts on all sides. Millions have been killed and are being killed daily in the name of religion. The cardinal truth is that the world would be a better place without any religion.

  • 2
    2

    There is no question that a religious dignitary should keep his dignity. But different circumstances require different solutions. Shyamon may not know, but the then Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio, as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires knows it too well and he is now the Pope. Yes! Shyamon! We respect your right to write, even viewing matters with politically colored glass. At the same time we envy the peace you enjoy and perhaps write about something in Sri Lanka, perhaps when you have nothing else to do, when we have to live in fear of bomb explosions and the possibility of another 30 year war.

    • 2
      0

      Another 30 year war will come about only if the power hungry terror group of the former regime return, which some people appear to be wanting.

  • 0
    0

    The cardinal has not visited the Church in Batticaloa affected by the terror bomb blast. People of the area are not happy and whispering that he is very communal.

  • 2
    1

    By Shyamon Jayasinghe –

    Shyamon Jayasinghe

    Shymon;

    “The Cardinal, in effect though unwittingly, became a status lender to a rabid gang of racists on the march”

    Loves the Limelight

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith seems to be loving the limelight and the glow, however spooky, of politics. I have pointed out before how His Eminence has a penchant for popping up in public affairs when he shouldn’t and avoiding intervention when he should intervene. In terms of timing and appropriateness His Eminence doesn’t fair well.

    *** Surely the Cardinal might be a spiritual leader but he can give Guidance on Moral Issues. If Ganasara Thero can issue Racial Sermons why cant the Cardinal mix politics with religion. In my view the two are Intertwind. He is not a British Monarchy to be barred from speaking out. Even Ganasara the convicted Racist has become an angel.

  • 2
    0

    the cardinal has been and will always be a rajapaksa acolyte
    that is why he is calling for a change in govt which is none of his business

  • 3
    1

    When the Bishop of the Methodist Church came under attack in Anuradhapura on the 14th April (Palm Sunday), this ‘so called’ cardinal or the hierachy of the catholic church did not utter a word. Thereafter, they made no mention of those affected at the Church in Batticaloa, nor did they visit them. But he made a bee-line to visit a Buddhist Monk who was staging a fast on political grounds. Time the Catholics of this country awoke to reality, and time the Vatican took appropriate action against this ‘so called’ cardinal.

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