24 September, 2020

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We No Longer Appear To Be A Constitutional Democracy

By Rt. Revd  Dhiloraj Canagasabey – Bishop of Colombo –

Rt. Revd Dhiloraj Canagasabey

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write this pastoral letter to you I write this as your Bishop as we approach the 65th anniversary of our national independence. It is with a heavy heart that I write it, the reason  being  that  in the past few days we have seen the complete collapse of the rule of  law in our nation. We no longer appear to be a constitutional democracy.

The rule of law means that we as a nation are governed by a system of  laws  to  which the lawmakers themselves are subject. This is a way of ensuring that  power   is not concentrated in the hands of one person (or group of persons) and  exercised arbitrarily. The breakdown of such accountability is a process that has been building up for  the  past  several years. It has now climaxed in the recent events that have seen both the Executive and  the  Legislature disregarding the  provisions of the very Constitution  which they swore to uphold  and defend, giving the appearance of a country ruled on the principle that ”Might is Right”

The numerous warnings that the Church, other religious organizations and civil society bodies  repeatedly issued have been ignored. There is currently a climate of  fear  and  helplessness, where   people remain silent rather than speak out against rampant injustice. intimidation, violence and falsehoods.

We as a Christian Church cannot remain silent in this situation. Such silence will be dishonouring to our Lord  and  a betrayal of our identity   as  His people. I wish to remind you that right from the day of Pentecost, the Church has learnt to say that ‘Jesus is Lord and not Caesar’. Often this has led to suffering and persecution. The Church must always be prepared for this eventuality.

There  are many examples in the Bible and Christian history  of persons who have refused to follow  orders when they have contradicted God’s moral law. Even in the Old Testament, Kings were  expected to rule under  a law which they themselves did not make  and to which they were  accountable (Deuteronomy 18: Psalms  72, etc.). Where rulers violated the  law, God challenged them  through prophetic men and women chosen and sent by him. The Church iscalled to be such a  prophetic presence and voice in our local communities, our places of work, our schools and  in the wider society

• This is a time for us as a Church to take an honest look at ourselves, where we have shamelessly compromised our loyalty to God. We need to repent of ways in which we, as individuals as well as collectively, have;

• been silent when we should have spoken

• allowed ourselves (thoughtlessly or out of fear)  to be used by those in authority to speak lies or commit wrong and  unjust  acts

• consciously received benefits for ourselves through acts of injustice committed against others

I, as your Bishop, call the Church to a period of lament together for the terrible state  of  our  nation today, and repentance for our failing as a Church to “love mercy, to seek justice and to walk humbly with the Lord” (Micah 6:8).

I,  therefore propose that

(a) Sunday 3rd February 2013 be observed in all parishes within our Diocese as a Day of Lament. All services should  have an extended time of silence, prayer and  intercessions, to grieve over the state  of our country today. Please encourage all parishioners to wear white and to fast wherever possible.

(b) We  as a diocese will congregate on  4th  February 2013 at 9am,  dressed in white, for a service to continue our Time of Lament. Those who are unable to be present at the Cathedral for this service are encouraged to gather in their  own churches at this time.

c)  I  further propose that all parishes in our Diocese have a series of Bible studies, reflections and discussions during Lent,  which is traditionally a period  of self-examination and  penitence, to reflect on what  it means  to live as a faithful disciple-community of Jesus  in the context of our  nation today.

I  thank God for the calling he has given us to be faithful to Him. When others may be controlled  by fear  and  helplessness, we must remember that our Lord who was crucified and suffered death was raised to new life offering hope  to all.

In the words of St. Paul, “Therefore my brethren stand firm and immovable, and work for the Lord always; work without limit since you know that in the Lord, your labour cannot be in vain”(I  Corinthians 15:58)

With  Prayers  and Christian Greetings’

The Rt. Revd  Dhiloraj Canagasabey

Bishop of Colombo

18th   January 2013

Read the original text here

Read the Sinhala translation here

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Latest comments

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    I think we all are deviating from the actual purpose of this letter which is addressed at the Christians,asking them to pray for our country, obviously in a bad state right now. It is not a calling for a rebellion or any kind of criticism towards any person or family. Dear Christians, ask this question from yourselves. How many times have I actually prayed to God for our country? 0? once? twice? thrice?

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    We cannot say more, how much we appreciate the words in this letter to a people in need of such a re-awakening. COLOMBO, you are blessed to have as your Bishop, a true man of God who loves and worships His God with sincerity and speaks words of wisdom, truth, power and soundness of mind, with thoughts for God’s people as they rightly need to hear.

    We need many more men of this high caliber to stay true to their calling by God, in all parts of the world as he has has done. We respect and honor the contents of this letter and greatly admire all its thoughts. Bishop God’s favor is surely upon you. May the Church in your country rise up to your call and may God continue to bless you with his Holy Spirit which is more than evident in your life. “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” – Philipians 3:7

    GOD BLESS YOU

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    Priest Canagasabey says “Where rulers violated the law, God challenged them through prophetic men and women chosen and sent by him. The Church is called to be such a prophetic presence and voice in our local communities, our places of work, our schools and in the wider society.”

    I would like to ask Priest Canagasabey where was his god and his church when the Portuguese and the Dutch and later the British colonial rulers massacred our ancestors in cold blood? Did not Portuguese destroy all the temples in Jaffna and built Catholic churches on the ruins? Did their god challenge the Portuguese for this heinous crime?

    Christian priests of any denomination have no moral right to invoke the wrath their god against what they imagine to be happening in Sri Lanka now. They are simply the successors of the ‘cloaks’ who accompanied the murderous Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders of Sri Lanka.

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      Satan is doing overtime??

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      Naga – you ask, “I would like to ask Priest Canagasabey where was his god and his church when the Portuguese and the Dutch and later the British colonial rulers massacred our ancestors in cold blood? “

      That’s a pretty stupid question and has no bearing on the Bishop’s call to his parishioners,

      Also I fail to see where he has “..invoked the wrath of their god” against anyone, so don’t try putting words in the Bishop’s mouth – it doesn’t work!

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        Good answer Peter!

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      Naga,

      I don’t know who’s history you are reading about. Yes Colonists colonized over 200 other countries in the world Including USA, Canada, Australia,Europe, India, Africa Etc…Did you forget that India Colonized Most of Sri Lanka befor Dutch or British came….

      Don’t you think if not for British, Sri Lanka could have still ruled by
      Indian Kings.If not for British you will still be doing your Father’s profession which could have been Ploughing, or clothes washer….as per kings rules accoding to your caste….

      Also see the type of animalistic punishments Kings gave for law breakers….and British changed everthing. May be you may still going in Bakki Karatte, wearing Amude eating aggala with a Polkatu or Koppra lantern….. as there is not much progress we see after 60 years of Independence. I hope you saw Rizana’s parents house and many other 60% of population live ….60 yrs. after Independence.

      Whose Kovils and Temples Dutch and British distroyed….Infact these are the final battle grounds that many fought and as a result many of them got destroyed…..but not purposly as you mention. During LTTE war many tigers seek cover in Kovils, temples and churches etc….and this is a usual norm.

      Check with Kandy History and see that it was British who restored Kandy Dalada Maligawa and Built a new Magul Maduwa for Buddhist Preletes. Also many British Scholars preserved many Buddhist Literature and Artifects…..UPTO THE CURRENT MUSEUM ROBBERY IN 2012 WHERE MANY ANCIENT SWORDS, RINGS, COINS, AND GEM STONES GOT LOST.

      You are reading the fake and distraughted history written by Religious and Sinhala Extremists Fanatics.

      Learn to appreciate the Good and Improve on it.
      Truth will come out one day.

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    Isn’t Religion the foundation of human kind. Doesn’t it teaches us right and wrong and shouldn’t we follow such religious leaders as our mentors. But unfortunately they failed all along and we are left in the cold as sheep without a Shepard. If Sri-Lankan religious leaders held the plumb line straight and did their job properly we would have had such a strong community that no politician could have done what they are doing and getaway the way as it has been. Some body have said bishop should not get involved in politics but shouldn’t politics arise out of religion and a religious community. Out of a religious community comes economy, politics family values and so on. So we cannot separate politics from religion.

    What we lack are religious leaders who walk the talk and does what is right despite personnel loss, whom we can respect. If we have them we will be rest assured no politician can get away doing what they do.

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    This letter is not to blame other religions. It is to show the state of our republic. He is calling the Christians, anglicans of his diocese, a minority, yet Sri Lankans, to express their hunger for change. As a pluralistic society, we should express our hunger for change through the channels we believe in. It’s not a call for hatred against other religions and ethnic groups. If we do not accept pluralism when the time for this regime to fade away comes, there will be a new regime to thrive off that disharmony. I don’t care if I’m Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Sinhalese, Tamil, Burgher, or any such ethnic tag. What matters the most is that I’m Sri Lankans. And only as Sri Lankans can we stand up for the generations past, present, and future.

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    A new Christian Reformation for Sri Lanka! While we are about it we should expose Malcolm Ranjith for his totally UNCHRISTIAN behaviour and the Anglican Bishop of Colombo’s colleague in Kurunegala who is nothing but a shameless sycophant of the Jarapassa government and whose …

    Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    GOOD BISHOP, ITS HEARTENING TO HEAR YOU TAKING A STAND AGAINST THE INJUSTICES PERVADING THIS COUNTRY AND MAKING A PROCLAMATION TO YOUR FLOCK AFTER A LONG PERIOD OF SILENCE. WE WERE WONDERING WHETHER AFTER YOU INVITED THE HIERARCHY OF THIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT FOR YOUR ORDINATION AS BISHOP, TO THE CATHEDRAL, ( THIS WAS NOT DONE PREVIOUSLY), YOU TOO HAD GONE THE WAY THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY HAD GONE. BUT I THINK YOU COULD HAVE WORDED YOUR LETTER, WHICH YOU ADDRESSED TO YOUR PARISHONERS, A LITTLE MORE CAREFULLY. AFTER ALL SRI LANKA IS A MULTI RELIGIOUS COUNTRY AND I AM SURE YOU DO NOT WANT TO SOUND AS IF YOU ARE CALLING FOR A “RELIGIOUS PROTEST” OF THE ANGLICANS OF SRI LANKA, AGAINST THE ATTROCITIES OF THIS GOVERNMENT. THERE ARE A HOST OF OUR COUNTRYMEN, FROM ALL RELIGIONS WHO ARE SUFFERING UNDER THE HEEL OF THIS DICTATORIAL REGIME. NOT THAT YOU CAN CALL FOR “OTHERS” TO JOIN YOUR FLOCK IN THEIR “RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS”, BUT YOU COULD HAVE, IN YOUR WISDOM TEMPERED YOUR DIRECTION TO INCLUDE ALL SRI LANKANS WHO HAVE BEEN AT THE RECEIVING END OF THESE INJUSTICES.

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    My friend Mr Sumanasekera,

    You say “the combined mission of the JHU & BB is to prevent the Diaspora heavies and their Western buddies getting free real estate in Killinochchi…” So do we take from you and your ilk, the heavy weights in the Yellow brigade of both mafias, it is no longer the preservation of the borrowed religion in its pristine purity. Under today’s Rent laws that will be a violation because tenants are expected by law to have and hold owners property with due care and consideration.

    As to Kilinochchi Real Estate, thank you for the concern. The ancient owners of this property will do all that is necessary to regain, have and to hold it, although occasionally, this is stolen via stronger force of arms. Fortunately, in today’s more enlightened world (a mental condition borrowed from the Hindu Prince Siddarthan Gauthaman) Right prevails over Might – a principle our good lady, the once keeper of the laws and order, found gravely violated in the streets of Aluthkade a fortnight ago.

    Senguttuvan

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    Rev. Dhilhoraj Canagasabay…. Could you mind your own business close to CHRIST………
    Canagasabay should know that the Anglican Church was formed to change the Rule to suit the King. In short hijacked Rome concept.

    Malcom is aware the catholic Church has grown from the ancient past staying close to the power. It all became after hijacking the name of a JEW and developing the name with the power.

    These are called …. hatara Hina……………

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    Gentlemen, I have read all the comments and they contain much misinformation and vitriolic that will not help in bringing about clear thinking. Many of readers are not aware of the serious and almost irrepairable condition our beautiful motherland has plunged into.
    We will soon be celebrating our 65 years of independence from British and if we consider carefully what they left us is a legacy to be developed on. Our Colombo harbor, tea, rubber and the palntation sector was once flourishing and many took pride in being a planter. I remember, our Railstations were spick and span. Planted with beautiful flowers. The floors were clean and swept, the bathrooms were clean and the train compartments were polished and clean.
    Today, most all the carriages are dirty, many of the fans and latrine fittings have been stolen. The power plants are filthy, with diesel and oil leaking. Our work ethicts and pride? All gone and what is now left is a rotting land, riddled with corruption and just today the future of education and the money provided for uniforms have all been stolen and it is the poor children who really wish to learn, our Sinhala and Tamil kids, are now hit with the last nail in their coffin.
    Come to your senses friend and heed the words of this dear servant of God. As darkness deepens, only true Christians have the privilage to interceed for this nation of ours. We are on the very precipice of God’s wrath on our nation. I have written about this earlier as a pastor. Many,many true Christians are very much aware of the immoral filth in these major denomination, however the true Church is not a denomination and Christianity is catergorically not a religion.
    There are many godly small groups in prayer and intercession for our land as the “Angel of Death,” comes over the land. Only the blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ can cover us as hope is not lost. Let us mourn and weep and proverbially put on “sack cloth and ashes”. Not alingn ourselves with “demons and idols” and usless arguments. Eterrnal Hell and damination awaits all those who scoff. Let us at least have enough sense to put aside our foolishness and not plung over the irrepairable abyss.

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    Mr Sengutuan,the term “free” is purely in commercial terms,

    TGTE which now gloats about having ex EU MPs as senators and a citizenry, who claim to have a turn over of 125 Billion Greenbacks,according to posters here,is not in the little league.

    Our inhabitants will sign off even two thirds of the crown land in the North on a 99 year lease,the same way the Yankee Hyatt got the deeds for land in our capital.

    Nothing to worry about the landlords even in Mullative,who got at least a copy of the real deed in the Kachchary.

    Most of the Jaffnasiders have already got theirs back and sold them in the current boom making big bucks.

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    To Mr Sumanasekera and other friends, please do not treat the TGTE lightly. The influence they may eventually generate globally will be
    far more strident than their present limited reach suggests. The African National Congress in Exile too was under-estimated during and before the 1980a and ended up, with no comparable resources to the juggernaut Apartheid White S. Africa, as the sovereign government of South Africa. PLO started along the same lines and remained without clout for decades. They are today recognised by the UN and most of the world. Our President subscribes to this growing view on the PLO as well.

    What the world has allowed the Rajapakses and GoSL is time to settle its own internal affairs – peacefully, legally and in terms of natural justice. The region and the world have made up their mind Tamils in the country have been wronged far too long and need to be accommodated without further delay – a legal and moral imperative. That is the language of the UN/Geneve meeting last year that comes up for review in March. Ignoring the latter, after providing documentation assuring to abide by the consensus that emerged from the proceedings, will be at the peril of the regime. The day of reckoning is fastly approaching.
    The regime has to free itself from the pernicious clutches of the JHU, BBS and other extremists which it privately claims “are holding the country to ransom”

    Senguttuvan

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      Not sure about the others, but I take you seriously.

      Your prediction of the TGTE doing an” ANC” made me visualise what the scenarion will be for the inhabitant population ,specially the great majority of the rural poor who are in my heart.

      ANC had at least 60% of the natives under its wings.

      PM Rudra will be pushing to top 15% even with all his TGTE citizens taking dual passports.

      So what would be the fully autonomous Provincial System look like?.

      Mangala CM of the South

      Sumanathiran in the North

      Professor Hoole in the East

      Mano Ganshan for Nawalapitiya

      Then you have a whole lot of others who deserve positions,the likes of Rev Emmanuel.Pasiokothy ,and the ex CJ who have worked hardand and still doing it.

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    Bishop where were you when the LTTE terrorist Prabhakaran booted out all the Muslims and Sinhalese from the Northern province and recruited child soldiers? Where was the church when Prabhakaran and his gang was busy murdering Sinhalese and Muslim villagers and citizens minding their own business in cities with bombs? Was there democracy and freedom then? First as an act of repentance if you are fair and just, let all the Muslims and Sinhalese who were booted out from the North return to the North. Then secondly apologise on behalf of the church for supporting separatism and terrorism in Sri Lanka. Now that would really be the way to celebrate independence this independence day.

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      monkey,

      Where were Bodu bala Sena….then….where were JHU….

      Don’t you remember how yellow robes run like crazy in Colombo Streets hearing Tigers have come to colombo….in 1985.

      Where was Gota. during the hight of war….Who really helped to win the war.

      Who killed SWRD….

      Don’t get carried away by the politicians, politicising the war, the society, races and religions. Be careful.

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      Monkey, you really are monkey and desrve both barrels in the head !

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    The TGTE , the GTF, the BTF and other such organisation are a curse for the Tamils who have to live in Sri Lanka. Their antics though warming the cockles of a few, are only of noise value. The are like Ghosts, that do not exist, but yet scare some people and serve to provide a living to those like the Kaatadiyas. They are a mirage lacking substance. Most Tamils in the Diaspora understand this and are moving steadily and at a fast pace away from the ideology these organisations represent. These organisation and those behind them, missed their bus, when they opted to not join hands to rebuild the lives of the war-affected. The government did right by these unfortunates and most are at least back on their feet. The organisations named, were chasing shadows, when they had to react to substantive issues in a meaningful way.They are yet chasing shadows and have no credibility where it matters and hence have no relevance. Unless such groups identify with the people and are representing their real interests, they will have no meaning.

    The hope of some that their noise will influence the international community to make a difference in Sri Lanka, sounds forlorn to me. Several countries are worse off today than they were prior to such direct and indirect interventions. The IPKF episode and its aftermath should be a lesson for the Tamils. Any repercussions to Sri Lanka, will also be adverse for the war-affected Tamils who are just finding their feet. The recent developments in Sri Lanka such as the CJ affair show that the government is beyond sensitivity to what is right and does what is expedient to stay in power and control. Such a government will resist all international pressure by trick or treat and make political capital out of it unashamedly. They are masters at this game. Unfortunately for them, the only pressure that matters-public opinion-is slowly but steadily turning against it and could prove lethal if the government does not reverse its stance on many aspects of governance and public policy. Most Sinhalese want the minorities to be treated as equals and the country to be ruled better. The Tamils have to join this caravan, without being diverted by the antics of the few on either extreme.

    The proclivity of Tamil politicians to miss every bus of opportunity is matched in equal measure by their Sinhala counterparts. We need leaders urgently in this country, but continue to produce cheap politicians in their multitudes. These politicians are like maggots that proliferate and thrive on a festering wound. Concerted efforts must be made by us the people to heal our wounds in order to deprive the flies a place to lay their eggs and the maggots to emerge, thrive and get fat.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Dear Rt, Reverend Bishop,

    A big thank you for your inspirational suggestion. Our Independence Day indeed should be observed by us the people as a ‘A Day of Lament’ in all churches, temples, mosques and homes. It should not be a day of regret. Our deliverance from colonial rule was a great blessing. But what we have made of it is lamentable. No one is to be blamed, but us, the people. We have accepted minor transgressions by those whom we elected to govern us without realising their long term significance silently and patiently, from the very beginning. The minor transgressions have now evolved to be become major concerns and calamities. We are yet silent and patient. We overthrow governments that we perceived to have lost the respect for us the people, regularly. However, we have not taken action to nip bad governance in the bud. As a result, we have been forced to throw the baby with the dirty bath water, very often.

    We also continue to elect the same type of devils to office, because the old devils look better than the new devils in comparison, without realising that every devil we elect is getting promoted from a lower grade to a higher grade with every passing year in the school of devilshness. The previously discarded devils come back to power at regular intervals in new garb, but with greater devilshness. The devils are learning, while we are not. We have to hold these devils accountable every single day and watch them through a microscope.

    Our hard won independence and sovereignty are being strangled to the extent that we cannot any longer breath free as a nation. Our vitality as a people is not only being stunted, but bludgeoned. Our intelligence is being challenged. Our decency is being abused. Our faith in our Gods is being brought into question. Our conscience is being desensitised. The noise of the dredges in our society are being presented to us and the world as our opinion. Our essential goodness is being raped and sodomized at every turn. It is a shame that this is happening to a people who claim to be over 95 percent literate! Does our literacy rate misrepresent our level of education? Are we a people who can read, write and do our arithmetic, but are unable to think, identify what is wrong and revolt against what is wrong? Should our education system be renamed the ‘ The dumbing system’?

    Our Independence day indeed should be a ‘ A day of lament ‘ for us the people. Let us lament, while our political and administrative masters celebrate. Our political masters and administrators have much to celebrate,while we have no reasons to celebrate, but much to lament.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    I was an Anglican 25 years ago and 50 years ago my dad was anti catholic. Now I am a low key Catholic but my wife is a fanatical Ctholic and my nephew being ordained in Rome.My ancestors built an Anglicaan church and my wife’s ancestors builta Ctholic church. I am not interested in politics but i can see there is no democracy in SL.
    I am proud that the Anglican Bishop has writteen against the present rgime. Why cant the Catholics do the same Do they have skeletons in their cupboards
    Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

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    Maybe it’s time to keep religion aside and focus more on economic development. No country which has embraced religion whatever it is has prospered. The problem in SL is that the preachers and priests have too much influence and power over peoples lives.

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    DEAR “DONKEY”, ASKING WHERE THE GOOD BISHOP WAS, WHEN THERE WERE ROARING FIRES OF SEPERATION BURNING THIS COUNTRY IS OF NO USE NOW. WHERE EVER HE WAS HE IS A CLEAR THINKING SRI LANKAN, AND LIKE ALL CLEAR THINKING LANKANS HE WOULD NOT HAVE SUPPORTED TERRORRISM OR SEPERATISM. IT WAS ONLY THE ‘TIGERS’ AND THE ‘SEPERATISTS’ THAT WANTED SEPERATION OF THIS LAND AND HE IS NOT ONE OF THEM, AS HE WOULD NOT BE THE BISHOP OF COLOMBO NOW IF HE WAS.HE WOULD HAVE BEEN BEHIND BARS OR LIVING AS A REFUGEE IN A DISTANT LAND. THE CHURCH AS A BODY NEVER AT ANY TIME DURING “THE THIRTY YEAR WAR” SUPPORT SEPERATISM; THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN INDIVIDUALS WHO THOUGHT OTHERWISE, BUT THIS DID NOT REFLECT THE ‘CHURCH’S’ STAND. THE UNITY OF THE COUNTRY ALWAYS FIGURED IN THE CHURCH’S PRAYERS EVEN AT THE HEIGHT OF PRABAKARAN,S POWER.WHAT THE CHURCH WANTED WAS PEACE FOR THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE AND ASKED GOD FOR HIS INTERVNTION ON THIS SCORE. THERE WAS ANARCHY AND MAYHEM DURING THOSE THIRTY YEARS OF WAR WITH THE TIGERS. THAT WAR ENDED, FOR WHICH WE ARE MOST THANKFUL TO ALL CONCERNED, BUT SADLY THAT THREAT HAS BEEN REPLACED BY AN EVEN BIGGER THREAT TO THE COUNTRY NOW. YOU ASK WHETHER THERE WAS DEMOCRACY THEN? I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU WHETHER WE HAVE AN IOTA OF DEMOCRACY NOW? THIS IS WHAT THE GOOD BISHOP IS WRITING TO HIS FLOCK ABOUT. I HOWEVER WOULD HAVE STILL WISHED IF HIS EPISCOPAL LETTER COULD HAVE INCLUDED A PRAYER OR A REFERENCE TO ALL OUR COUNTRYMEN WHO ARE SUFFERING UNDER THE JACKBOOT OF THIS CORRUPT. GOVERNMENT, AND NOT ONLY FOCUS ON HIS FLOCK, AS THIS WOULD BRING IN A NATIOANAL TONE TO HIS CALL FOR PRAYER.

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    The Bishop’s words: “It is with a heavy heart that I write,” remind me of another time when a Bishop wrote from the depths of pain. Lakshman Wickremasinghe’s Pastoral Letter of September 1983 contained his last “official” words, and counsel to his congregation, and to the larger community, the Sinhalese, of which he was one. He was not in Sri Lanka when the fires of racism were burning once again, but as soon as he returned he made an exhausting pilgrimage to all parts of the country to comfort and offer help (and also ask forgiveness) to many who had suffered in those black days. Alas, the effort and the pain were too much for this good man and he collapsed and died within a few weeks of that last letter. He, too, was reviled by some for going beyond what they felt was the proper province of Church leader. But such men, such women are needed in times like those and times like these. They speak for many of us who perhaps have neither the courage nor the ability, and they run the risks on our behalf. Thank you Bishop.

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    I propose Muslim and Hindu priests should join hands with the Bishop and fight to save the little democracy left in the country. They must fight jointly to defeat the Bodi Balu Sena and Jhu

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      I think every Country loving patriot irrespective of Religion, Race or Gender should follow what Bishop Canagasabey say.

      This is to ask for Divine’s help to safeguard our country and to grieve for our mistakes.

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    I don’t think either the Colombo Telegraph editors or most of the readership tolerate dictatorship of the Christian Church.

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    Not the fault of the church, but the individuals holding the position. And the present one is no exception if a study is made……changes his word very often.

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    I agree with Maiya that we are deviating from the actual purpose of this letter. It is a call to prayer and to an examination of who WE are as Christians… leading into the church’s season of Lent. It is his duty to call his Anglican flock to prayer – it is not a call to ‘rise up’ but a call to ‘wait on’ the God whom we as Christians worship, and who alone we believe, can bring order out of chaos. Why is this so wrong? Thank you Bishop for your courageous shepherding of your flock. No labels and tags – just as Sri Lankans who love our beloved Motherland. We know you seek justice with love in your heart. May our period of lament be the beginning of fresh hope to our nation. God bless You and keep you safe.

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    I don’t recall this sort of pastoral letter decrying the butchery by the Tigers, nor a call for mourning when a President, a Presidential candidate, a leader of the Opposition and worshippers at mosques were murdered by them. When I read this pastoral call for mourning on Independence Eve no less, by the Anglican Bishop, I’m really glad I am a Catholic!

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      Our Forefathers fought with Portuguese, Dutch and British to bring Independence,Justice, Liberty, Democracy and Free speech for us and our Children and they achieved it.

      Now ever since we got Independence Our Country with only three major Communities have failed to achieve true Independence, democracy, and freedom of right to live.

      All this due to power hungry, power greedy, crook politicians who are ever prepered to rob the country as their own property.

      USA, England,Canada, Europe, Australia etc. with over 200 nationalities and ethnic and religious groups in a single country, all of them live with dignity, harmony, liberty and in peace……while we with four ethnic and religious groups who lived with us for generations cannot live peacefully due to Political Inteerference……and now interference against it’s own Sinhala people’s liberty, justice, democracy and free speech.

      People waited 30 years to see peace and happiness…..but now those promises and dreams are coming behind them to haunt due to a power hungry dictator.

      I should say that it is not only Independence Eve…..but until we kick the Medamulana Tsunami and Election thug crook Hora dictator (Thief), we have to continue mourning until we liberate our country from these Political Blood sucking Leeches.

      Our Forefathers and our Grand Children will never forgive us unless we Kick these Crooks and save our country.

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      Dayan J.:
      Why are we not surprised that you belong to the same Christian (?) Church as Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith?!
      As a Roman Catholic, do you remember a man called Bishop Romero and the price he paid for being a decent human being? Or is that a little too close for comfort for yet another nominal “Christian such as you and your Sri Lankan Cardinal?”

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    You are all such typical Sri Lankan armchair critics and a perfect demonstration of why this country has gone to the dogs. I laughed while reading this thread of comments. One respectable man of faith speaks up against injustice and what do the rest of you do? Bicker and finger-point like little children and turn the entire conversation into an unnecessary, racist war that has nothing to do with the original intent of the Bishop’s letter.

    May I humbly suggest that most of you get your selfish, ignorant, narrow-minded heads out of your rear ends and either choose to lament or not, without embarrassing yourselves further by turning this post into a ridiculous mob attack?

    Rev. Bishop, I ,may or may not agree with your views and your calling, but I respect your strength in using your voice to speak up without succumbing to apathy.

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    Folks, let’s allow the glad Catholic Dayan J to continue his happy way in this land of happiness, accompanied (presumably) by the equally glad Cardinal.

    …and let’s also ask Dayan to pray to the good God every night to let wisdom dawn on those, mournful Anglicans, whining and groaning on and in, never satisfied with the happy gladsome state of affairs in this happy land – A Land Like No Other – with a Government Like No Other !

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      Dayan…..Oh.. It’s My Money, prestige, status and my car my petrol talk.

      Who cares what as long as my family is been taken care by Maharaja…

      Long live MR Sri Lanka…..long live Cardinal MR.

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    This Pastoral Letter of the Bishop is addressed to the Christian community of the Colombo Diocese of the Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) of which he is the leader and where he has pastoral oversight. He has a duty like any other religious leader to speak and challenge the people of that community to turn away or repent. That is what the Bishop has done and we need to congratulate him for that.
    He refers to the numerous appeals that the Church, other religious organizations and civil society bodies repeatedly issued that were ignored. So this letter is not something that comes from no where, but has a background or a context. He further states that the Christian community cannot remain silent as such silence is dishonouring the Lord and a betrayal of the Christian identity as God’s people. The letter also has a call to look inwardly at how Christians may have shamelessly made compromises by betraying their calling to “love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly with God”.
    He reminds the Christian community to be faithful to the “dhamma” or teachings and for keeping silence when they should have spoken, and how they have lied and committed wrong and unjust acts.
    Finally, the Bishop makes references to the Bible which is God’s moral law and which has throughout history and continues to be the standard by which Christian action must be judged, just as a non-Christian would say that his/ her religious teachings is what guides that person to live as a moral citizen in this world.
    Let us also remind ourselves that all genuine religious leaders of yester-years throughout the world have also condemned dictatorial laws and attempts by individuals to oppress people and become a law unto themselves.
    Let all honourable citizens in our land as well as elsewhere meditate and reflect on the words in the pastoral letter and turn and contribute to make this country of ours a truly blessed land.

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    Dear Rt. Rev.

    “Jehovah your God who goeth before you, he will fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes….” Deuteronomy 1:30

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    Doc. dayan jayatilake’s obviously in need of an ego-rub from those who dish out such. Obviously suffering from an ostrich syndrome, he chooses to delve in the past- not wanting to go into the roots of the ethnic issue.

    I’m glad that most catholics i know are NOT superficial ‘submarine type’ catholics who only come out on their depths on sundays and not give a toss about the consistent degradation of society and rule-of-law in this otherwise blessed island!

    The man can be compared perhaps to GL peiris- another opportunistic man on an ego-trip!

    Peace!

    Jack

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    We cannot say more, how much we appreciate the words in this letter to a people in need of such a re-awakening. COLOMBO, you are blessed to have as your Bishop, a true man of God who loves and worships His God with sincerity and speaks words of wisdom, truth, power and soundness of mind, with thoughts for God’s people as they rightly need to hear.

    We need many more men of this high caliber to stay true to their calling by God, in all parts of the world as he has has done. We respect and honor the contents of this letter and greatly admire all its thoughts. Bishop God’s favor is surely upon you. May the Church in your country rise up to your call and may God continue to bless you with his Holy Spirit which is more than evident in your life. “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” – Philipians 3:7

    GOD BLESS YOU

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