24 May, 2022


Full Text: Pope Francis’ Arrival Speech In Sri Lanka

Address of Pope Francis – Arrival Ceremony – Colombo, 13 January 2015

Mr President,
Honourable Government Authorities,
Your Eminence, Your Excellencies,
Dear Friends,

I thank you for your warm welcome. I have looked forward to this visit to Sri Lanka and these days which we will spend together. Sri Lanka is known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean for its natural beauty. Even more importantly, this island is known for the warmth of its people and the rich diversity of their cultural and religious traditions.

Pope Francis arrives in Sri Lanka | Photo courtesy: Alan Holdren / CNA.

Pope Francis arrives in Sri Lanka Jan. 13. Photo courtesy: Alan Holdren / CNA.

Mr President, I extend to you my best wishes for your new responsibilities. I greet the distinguished members of the government and civil authorities who honour us by their presence. I am especially grateful for the presence of the eminent religious leaders who play so important a role in the life of this country. And of course, I would like to express my appreciation to the faithful, the members of the choir, and the many people who helped make this visit possible. I thank you all, from the heart, for your kindness and hospitality.

My visit to Sri Lanka is primarily pastoral. As the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, I have come to meet, encourage and pray with the Catholic people of this island. A highlight of this visit will be the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, whose example of Christian charity and respect for all people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, continues to inspire and teach us today. But my visit is also meant to express the Church’s love and concern for all Sri Lankans, and to confirm the desire of the Catholic community to be an active participant in the life of this society.

It is a continuing tragedy in our world that so many communities are at war with themselves. The inability to reconcile differences and disagreements, whether old or new, has given rise to ethnic and religious tensions, frequently accompanied by outbreaks of violence. Sri Lanka for many years knew the horrors of civil strife, and is now seeking to consolidate peace and to heal the scars of those years. It is no easy task to overcome the bitter legacy of injustices, hostility and mistrust left by the conflict. It can only be done by overcoming evil with good (cf. ROM 12:21) and by cultivating those virtues which foster reconciliation, solidarity and peace. The process of healing also needs to include the pursuit of truth, not for the sake of opening old wounds, but rather as a necessary means of promoting justice, healing and unity.

Dear friends, I am convinced that the followers of the various religious traditions have an essential role to play in the delicate process of reconciliation and rebuilding which is taking place in this country. For that process to succeed, all members of society must work together; all must have a voice. All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears. Most importantly, they must be prepared to accept one another, to respect legitimate diversities, and learn to live as one family. Whenever people listen to one another humbly and openly, their shared values and aspirations become all the more apparent. Diversity is no longer seen as a threat, but as a source of enrichment. The path to justice, reconciliation and social harmony becomes all the more clearly seen.

In this sense, the great work of rebuilding must embrace improving infrastructures and meeting material needs, but also, and even more importantly, promoting human dignity, respect for human rights, and the full inclusion of each member of society. It is my hope that Sri Lanka’s political, religious and cultural leaders, by measuring their every word and action by the good and the healing it will bring, will make a lasting contribution to the material and spiritual progress of the Sri Lankan people.

Mr President, dear friends, I thank you once again for your welcome. May these days we spend together be days of friendship, dialogue and solidarity. I invoke an abundance of God’s blessings upon Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and I pray that its beauty may shine forth in the prosperity and peace of all its people.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    The head of a mono religious state – The Vatican going around
    preaching about religious tolerance to others. What a farce

    The current Buddhist ‘fundamentalism’ in Sri Lanka can be directly traced back to the colonial church nexus

    As an alternative website how about CT write an article about the immense wealth of Vatican or its role in the Colonial project in Sri Lanka

  • 1

    Hope cardinal Malcolm Fernando confesses his sins to the pope. He has got his oppotunity, let him to do it. He in my openion has not seen as a cleargy.

    Diversity enriches, hmm, yes, in SL it makes riches the thugs, looting minorities hard earned wealth in the name of weired patriotism. And now they uses politics to achieve it and run away when their time is over.

    Basil Mahathaya, why did he go; would or could he go if his brother is still in power. No, guy is the No:01 patriotic citizen of the country, and protecting the soverignity. He goes to NE to develop it with Douglas whereas NPC is not capable of.

    This guy doesnt have any empathy even towards his brother. How could he leave him and ran behind his wife?. She looks like she owns the USA looking at the way she was walking this guys at LA. So much for the patriotism, this was all about the 20% commission, and the hora got away with it. Poor SriLankans shall pay for capital and interest.

    It is not that hard to reconcile his wealth position and recoup the money he got illegally. As a minister, how much he could have earned in these years can be calculated. Add to the income he has had at the beggining of this job, if any thing over, he should be given a chance to explain, if he has valid reason for any extra income, leave it, the rest is ours. I am sure he must have kept somewhere, and has to come back to the USA. If the GoSL has requested GUSA definitely track it down. Hope new Govt will pursue it, if not, next time when MR comes to power this guy with Vass will export elephant to Caribian Island and live in a mansion.

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