4 December, 2023


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.


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. 


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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 10

    The Best Sinhala Leader ever either in Religion or in Politics.-

    Sinhala Buddhists who do not suck Dr Ranil and his Cabal will be behind this Cardinal more than any one else.

    And the Cardinal will show the Leadership to get this Country out of the Shit Hole , which is created by Dr Ranil. Mangala . Samare , Kiriella, their Muslim collaborators and President Sira as well.

    No wonder Dr Raanil suckers who live in the West try to hang shit on this Good Man since the Cardinal started exposing the Political Crooks and their Shenanigans ..

    • 14

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “And the Cardinal will show the Leadership to get this Country out of the Shit Hole , which is created by Dr Ranil. Mangala .”

      What on earth are you talking about?
      When did the cardinal convert to Sinhala/Buddhism?
      Was he a secret admirer of Sinhala/Buddhist fascism?

      • 2

        Dear Native, Don’t worry about it mate,

        I know you have been desentisized by Mangala from Matara , feeding you
        his sweet dreams of our Lankas having no Sinhala Buddhists and No Sinhala Catholics either, after wiping out the lot together with their Padres and the Bikkus..

        And All having Scotch with a Bensen and Hedges on the Beach watching the beach Boys in play.
        While the House boys are busy tiding up the kitchen after doing the Beds.

        No Kinders No baby sitters to worry about .
        Others with any ankle biters can send them to Dr Ranil’s Unisex Schools where there will be no Buddhas or Jesus .
        And the Kiddies will be talking A B C from day one.
        It sounds pretty cool man..

        My worry is will Mangala Samare be able to impose those cool standards in the Federal Homelands run by the Hindutvas in the North
        And the Islamists in the East, where Education, Marital Laws Health,Employment , Land , Industries and Religious affairs are all under the control of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet?..

        • 5


          Yours is an utterly tasteless offering from a man of little value or substance.

  • 15

    Zaharan used mosque to preach his kind of Islam where as Cardinal is using the church and his power in playing politics. This Cardinal is a proxy of Rajapaksas. Cardinal Ranjith, always has good grasp for politics than his religion. Then we have Ganasara/Rathana for company. Now please tell me, isn,t their purposes not same ????? The purpose is same only the means of achieving (their sins) vary. I am waiting for that selfie of Cardinal with Ape Man. Today I hear prelates came out “demanding to reinstate the resigned Muslim ministers”. Looks like Lord Buddha has had his enlightenment but not our prelates, who are apparently confused .

  • 6

    Easter day terrorist attack killed 300 people and left 400 people injured. It happened due to the criminal negligence of this government and specially because of destruction of the security apparatus of the country by the NGOs and their cohorts like Mangala. [edited out]

    • 2


      The political animals , the Catholic Cardinal Malcolm and Monks.


      Lanka belongs to the Native Veddah Aethho, not to the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist” Monks, Para Cardinals or the Para Ulama or Moulavis, who are all misleading the low IQ, 79, and dropping Paras.

      Para Sinhala Buddhism, Catholicism and Wahhabism, the triple curses of the Land.

      Yes, Lanka is not a Buddhist Country, It is a Mara, Devil, Satanic Country, Courtney of the Monks, Cardinals and Ulama, all Paras.

      • 0

        [Edited out] Writing in capital letters are discouraged – CT

  • 9

    Yes Cardinal offered a olive branch to Muslims so that he could earn their trust and create a facade for what he was up to there after. Simple as that. We have to look at the personality of an individual and not a single random act in assessing that person. Cardinal has good grip on politics, than on his religion. That is why he made those statements , not only to elevate him for Noble Prize nomination but to earn trust. Soon after he was seen hobnobbing with politicians, endorsed GR for candidacy (“we need strong leaders), accused the government, RW and MS for inaction( how did a CARDINAL come to conclusion without any inquiry????) but not Rajapaksas for the tragedy, daily press meets and statements with political sound bites “country belongs to people and not the governing politicians, visiting Rathana to join fast and continue to lie along those lines of his pay masters. There is no difference between Cardinal, Ganasara/Rathana and Zaharan. All of them are exploiting religion for politics.

    • 2


      “Yes Cardinal offered a olive branch to Muslims so that he could earn their trust and create a facade for what he was up to there after. Simple as that. We have to look at the personality of an individual and not a single random act in assessing that person. Cardinal has good grip on politics, than on his religion.”

      The Cardinal is following the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” version of Para-Sinhala Para-Catholicism. He is also following the Popes who compromised with Nazis, Hitler who was Catholic.

      Is Catholicism a Satanic Ideology? According to Protestants, Yes.

      IQ2 2009 – Hitchens Eviscerates the Catholic Church


      Christopher Hitchens argues against the proposition that ‘The Catholic Church is a Force for Good’ at the Intelligence Squared debate in October, 2009

  • 1

    For last few years We show arrest of lot of opposition party members , government officials of previous regime & members of security forces and keeping them in jail for few months or sometimes few years without bail for suspected financial crimes. But no further legal actions taken as yet on those allegations but some were kept under arrest for few days, few months or few years without trial. As far as this suicide bombing in several sites killing innocent civilians can be rated as crimes against humanity. But still government is failed to arrest or even question suspect political leaders of Muslim community. WHY ???? government’s jacks ?????? because of that Rathana thero had to under go fasting protest to highlight it. Therefore as Spiritual leader of the community that suffered mostly in this carnage had obligation to visit monk who are protesting for justice. Nothing wrong with it.

  • 12

    With regards to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, firstly, he represents only the Catholic Church and not the entire Christian community in Sri Lanka. Secondly, what he did can be his personal interest (becoming popular among the Sinhala-Buddhists) and not the interest of the entire catholic church/community of Sri Lanka. Thirdly, we all know that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is a shameless Rajapakshe stooge who obtained personal favours from the Rajapakshe government and therefore it is obvious that the Cardinal will be obliged to preach a political sermon for favours granted to him. He is a disgrace to the Catholics of Sri Lanka and the majority of Catholics are not happy with the way their Cardinal has been supporting the racist ideology of the Rajapakshes and the opposition.

    Looks like the Easter Sunday attack is a blessing in disguise for Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. He seems to be the only person who became very popular in Sri Lanka, some were suggesting Nobel prize for the Cardinal while some others were saying he deserves to be the president of the country.

    • 4


      “He is a disgrace to the Catholics of Sri Lanka”

      You nailed it! Amen and Thank you .

      I am a Catholic
      The Catholic

  • 4

    For all who follow this Cardinal, see how the current pope is conducting business. Though sensitive and a subject to avoid the pope has shown willingness in addressing church abuses and take appropriate action in a transparent manner. He is also more tolerant and accepting LGBT community. He even went to the extent of participating in discussions with activist , where considering exceptions for abortion/euthanasia when there is no other choice left. He has traveled to countries which his predecessors have carefully avoided and countries which were in need but not considered a economical priority. He at times, has stood up against powerful world leaders and voiced opinion when he witnessed injustice . And here you have Cardinal who is acting right opposite to the beliefs of religion and Vatican,s commitment. Ranjith has voiced his support in declaring Lanka as a Buddhist country, found people guilty without inquiry, knowingly supports criminal politicians, endorses politicians, supports a unconstitutional coup (by SC) and its architects, visits monk who is holding country to ransom and uses his position and power to justify the wrong doings of politicians. Come out of your denial or else by enabling, you may well have your own religion, as Buddhist in Lanka do. Leave Shyamon alone unless you want to “shoot the messenger”. Its not just him who is voicing this opinion. Read the comments of many who follow this Cardinal.

  • 6


    Analyzing your article from start to finish, I make my observations as follows.

    1. You assume in your opening statement that His Eminence Malcom Cardinal Ranjith loves the limelight. Well check you facts mate, since the Cardinal was never a media person until the Easter debacle.

    2. There is absolutely no need to for his eminence or any others from the Catholic high office to refute Mangala’s tweet, since he in just an ordinary person as far as all of the other tweeter community is concerned. Mangala can tweet till the cows come home, but who damn cares.

    3. You assume “a sense of protocol” @ the chief prelates levels. In fact there is No protocol at all. The voices of the chief prelates of the Asgiri and Malwatta chapters have being effective gagged with governmental “Privileges”. They only make “an announcement” at best.

    4. Rev Athuraliye Rathana too has failed as a politician, and the perceived fat-unto-death was a desperate attempt to salvage his pride and image, and no more.

    5. Re. Mangala S, he/she does not portray the maturity of a senior politician / member of the cabinet, when either he communicates in the social media channels or in his action. In Fact he dilates him/her self to a “cheap commodity” available with a discount @ a supermarket.

    So much for a ” minister of finance” in a country-like-no-other.

  • 6

    Why can’t the Cardinal contest the elections to become the PRESIDENT. He is a Sinhalese, Catholic, capable of flirting with Buddhists when the need arises and subtly attack the Tamils to satisfy the Sinhalese.

    • 1

      K.Ananga – You racist will never reform. Where is reconciliation with racists like you and Wigneswaran

  • 3

    slandering the cardinal to bring political gain to Mangala.
    Please comprehend that the cardinal is a superior being and saved the country from a communal riot that the politicians created.
    By trying to discredit the cardinal, you are only making matters worse.
    Stop being a political stooge at your age and do something for the future of our country.

  • 3

    As a Catholic trying to be wedded to the teachings of Christ, I am ashamed and feel disgusted with the Cardinal’s act of visiting the Racist who was fasting. Not that the Cardinal was not aware of the ramifications. He is a populist who will say anything to be popular. Remember he is the one who supported reintroduction of the death sentence, spoke against a secular constitution, human rights violations and also keep making cheap political statements such as Christianity will survive only if Buddhism survives! (as if the behaviour of the majority Buddhists is to be emulated). He must be the darling of the Sinhala Buddhist racist.
    His plea not to react to the bomb blast is fundamental to Christian teaching (the only option he had) and what Christ stood for , can be admired as it clearly revealed the nudity of the saffron robe and the intolerance of the majority Buddhists!

    • 1

      Peter, how dare you say Sinhala Buddhists are racists. You are one of the fundamentalists created by the Portuguese invading vultures by force destroying our glorious culture nurtured by the Budhist philosophy. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith took great effort to bring about mutual understanding between the Buddhists and the Christian/Catholic church, which he has achieved. But some extremist elements castigate Him for his close association with the Buddhist clergy to bring about religious reconciliation.

      • 2

        John Silva,
        There are some Sinhala Buddhists who are blatantly racist like your Gnasara and Rathna clad in the saffron robe which is a disgrace to the noble Buddhist!

      • 2

        Johnny Boy Silva

        “Peter, how dare you say Sinhala Buddhists are racists.”

        The Sinhala/Buddhists are not only racists but also turning into mutant Fascists.

  • 2

    In Sri Lanka, these religious bigots seems to take to the level of narcissistic. Is this what secular Sri Lanka want and be under the mindset of falsehood. What a way to undo the 2500 years of civilisation.

  • 2

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith rightly earned plaudits for his calm response in the aftermath of the despicable Easter bombing. I fear that his time in limelight may have gone to his head. He feels that he needs to be all things to all men. He has set out on a rocky road. He had no business in visiting Rathana Thero. Priests are most effective when tending to their flock – less so when entering the murky world of political manipulation…and worse.

  • 3

    As I have said earlier this guy Malcolm Ranjith (I nevet call him Cardinal or Rev). Is nothing but a ctafty slimeball who loves the limelight.
    On the night of the last election he was at Temple Trees with MR and his band having gin and tonic.
    He is a disgrace to all Catholics.
    How dignified are the leaders other Chrstian sects.
    Anyway what can you expet from a guy from the backstreets of Modera Col 15.
    A pariah dog can never win at a dog show.

  • 3

    I suspect though Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is donning his Catholic robes, he is at heart a Sinhala – Buddhist monk in yellow robes. Else how can one explain his claim that this country is a Sinhala Buddhist country because they are in a majority? Mangala Samaraweera is a politician who always speaks the truth in a forthright manner. His thinking is not tainted by any particular religion. What the country needs is a few more politicians like Mangala Samaraweera who likes religion to be kept separate from the state. History shows the rot started when Mrs.Bandaranaike gave Buddhism foremost place and state protection via her 1972 constitution thus installing a theocratic state.

  • 3

    This racist showman called a Cardinal could visit a another racist trouble maker monk but did not bother to visit or condole with fellow Christians who were slaughered in Batticaloa. He did not bother because they were Tamils. Some Chriistian spirit!
    In the good name of our Lord Jesus Christ, pls resign and try your hand at politcs or don the yellow robe.

  • 4

    Malcolm Ranjith is indebted to MR for having done him favours. The last favour was to put his unqualified nieces into the Overseas Service diplomatic assignements. Can you imagine a Cardinal behaving like a lumpen character?

  • 0

    I tend to agree with the well presented and analytical article of Shyamon Jayasinghe. His Eminence Cardinal Malcom Ranjith should be commended the way he behaved during and for some time after the Easter Sunday Bombings. He said the right things and did the right things and he was very careful not to ignite the flames of the ethnic hatred. Yes all Muslims are not to be blamed and the terrorists needed to be dealt and eliminated.

    However the certain things that His Eminence Cardinal Malocm Ranjith has been uttering and doings has taken a political alignment and this is what he should not be doing. He should be above all politics. Visiting Venerable Athuruliye Rathana was a big mistake and sent a wrong signal. Thera was quite uncalled for and unwarranted and it helped to send a message to the Sinhala extremists There is still time for him to alter his course.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.