20 May, 2022

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The Moment Of Truth For The Church Of Ceylon: Are We Better Than The Rajapaksas?

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

A Corrupt Church on the Rajapaksa Model

We Sri Lankans lulled ourselves into thinking we were a democracy, but the ongoing protests show we never were. Organizations quote principles. Whether they live by them is what determines if they should be taken seriously. The Rajapaksas spoke of democracy but stole and built financial empires. 

And the Church of Ceylon? It is as corrupt. It is time to reassess all our tainted Sri Lankan institutions. (I have worked in many government institutions at a high level and must confess that the cleanest boss I ever worked for was Prof. BRRN Mendis, Chairman/UGC, who gave me a lot of freedom and brought out the best in me.)

This article is rushed at this bad time for the country only because the church prepares to pass a resolution at every parish making untruthful claims to endorse another diocese. At my Parish of St. James’ Nallur, it will be on Sunday 15th instant. Although the Parish is not a voting body, even Sunday School Children are invited by the Archdeacon of Jaffna to vote for this untruthful document from Diocesan Secretary Arun Gamalatge. The resolution is dishonest insofar as there is no resolution by the Diocesan Council (the Parliament as it were of the Church) or the Standing Committee (the most powerful elected body in the Church looking after the Diocesan Council’s affairs between its annual sessions) or endorsing a new diocese. However, the resolution is to support these nonexistent efforts by the Diocese and Standing Committee. It is in the manner of the Rajapaksas and their draft 20th Amendment and how it was passed in Parliament.

Hiran Fernando, son of Fr. Celestine, has serious allegations of church corruption that are never addressed – for example the felling of trees at the cathedral with no word of who took the money. Ignoring serious allegations is the crafty manner of the church in not addressing serious charges. When Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo took over, the renovations of his residence cost Rs. 10 million whereas my fancy house built at the same time from ground up in Jaffna, cost me Rs. 9 million. I raised the issue. I cannot convince myself that no one skimmed off. We preach Jesus Christ but have little of Christ to show. 

The Standing Committee consists of the same people elected yearly, and do nothing while a small dishonest clique of officials and appointed members runs the Church. If an important person says something, there is never a vote, and it is not questioned but taken as passed. The question “Those in favour?” is never asked by the Bishop who is the Chairman.

Rule by Committees

The malady of disengaged Committees endorsing illegal actions of the leadership is common to all Sri Lankan administrations. Once in power, administrators must have their way. The key is to surround yourself, the leader, with pliant and carcass feeding committees who will come and assent to whatever you say and stooge in exchange for the friendship, power-status and the tea. 

In government it is a common trick when the Chairman senses dissent, to invite friends from SLAS to subcommittees that do what is necessary. An upright colleague at the Election Commission, would excuse himself when he sensed manipulation and his place would be taken by outside SLAS Officers. 

Like the Rajapaksas, the Church appoints with no regard to qualifications, and only those who can work with them. And who is best to work with? It is those who will not object to maladministration. Much of the Standing Committee of the Church is just that, Colombo-based vultures that never read minutes and come for the tea and prestige, rubberstamping corruption, both administrative and financial. A few, usually women, are set up as attack dogs to be set upon those who ask questions. 

Most important decisions are by subcommittees of the Standing Committee with most Members not knowing who or when these subcommittees were appointed; nor who was appointed. The minutes say little. Likewise at the Election Commission, the Chairman and officials appointed by him to assist, write letters with nothing known to Commission Members. Secret files are maintained. I assume it is worse after the 20th Amendment.

The Diocesan Secretary creates reasons why the Standing Committee cannot question church institutions like the CMS. These institutions appoint Colombo friends with no transparency or accountability. They do not announce to the Standing Committee any vacancies or who is appointed to fill such vacancies. 

The Bishop chairing the meeting sits by as if the Secretary is truthful in saying the matter is outside the purview of the Standing Committee. The reality is that the power to question all diocesan Institutions and query their accounts is explicitly given to the Standing Committee (Article 8(d) of the Diocesan Constitution). 

By sitting quietly by as the Secretary untruthfully misleads the Standing Committee, the Bishop is co-opted into the Secretary’s dishonest agenda to bury the maladministration.  Thereby institutions like the CMS, Deaf and Blind School, etc. are allowed by the secretively mis-appointed, anonymous Diocesan Boards of friends and friends’ wives to carry on without oversight. I believe they are money-spinners.

A New Diocese to be a Province

The Anglican Church is organized as sister provinces. It was tradition that a province needed about 4 bishops to have an Archbishop (also called a Metropolitan). The Church of Ceylon had only the Bishops of Colombo and Kurunagala. So we remained “extra-provincial” under the Archbishop of Canterbury. All primates meet at Anglican Councils. We were not explicitly represented but had the courtesy of Nominated Status. What we lacked was only the title of Archbishop which our bishops badly craved for. 

To be a Province we need at least 2 more dioceses they say. However, Anglican numbers have been dwindling. The richer Anglicans, particularly Tamils, have migrated to places like the UK, Australia, Canada, and America. Richer Sinhalese Anglicans like the Bandaranaikes and Jayawardenes have become Buddhists. Our numbers on a Sunday are estimated to have dropped from 100,000 a century ago to 20,000 today. 

The obstacle question to becoming a Province is this: When our one bishop managed to oversee well over 100,000 members with hardly any transport, and when the Bishops of Kurunagala and Colombo oversee 20,000 now with Rs. 10 million cars for the bishops and archdeacons, why do we need a Bishop for 5000 members if we split into 4 dioceses? A Bishop needs a palace, a car, at least one Archdeacon who also will need a car and house, etc. Then the Archbishop would need a 5th palace, fleet and staff! 

Indeed, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Jaffna has 71 parishes under him (from Jaffna, Mullaitivu, and Kilinochchi) but manages well as the one Bishop. In the Diocese of Los Angeles where I was a Vestryman and Diocesan Delegate, our first Bishop swam across rivers with the Bible and Prayerbook tied on head!  Our members outside Colombo live in poverty, but we leased a van for Rs. 100,000 a month for a  retired bishop and bought a new car for another. A retired Bishop is not entitled to these privileges. They should not even have asked knowing that it is difficult to say no to an unlawful request from a retired Bishop. Why do we need more Bishops making these exploitative and improper demands when people are starving?

A retired bishop was brought into the 133rd Diocesan Council (2018),  waiving rules that retired clergy are not Council members. Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey I think correctly perceived this Bishop as the right man convincingly to feed us with untruths to foist an Archbishop on us:

1. This retired Bishop was untruthful to the Diocesan Council, “A Bishop doesn’t need a big cathedral and big house and luxuries. This comes from the colonial times.” 

Bishop Rollo Campbell is the only White Colombo Bishop I know. Prof. Aries Kovoor, a Marxist, told me admiringly of how Campbell came walking in shorts from across STC Prep to the General Hospital on a visit to him at 6 am. Campbell has eaten my mother’s cooking on his visit to St. James’ Nallur. His successor, a Lankan, on the other hand sent a demand that he eats only meat-pies and my mother had to get a cook who had grown up with missionaries, Church-keeper Abraham, to make the pies. For lack of dexterity with cutlery for pies, we children had to eat separately. Worse, the so called national Bishop had come to confirm us and at the end in my presence he castigated my father, the rural Dean then, that we were using gingelly oil making his hands smelly and oily when he laid hands on us. No colonial bishop would have been so culturally insensitive.

Bishop Campbell used a very ordinary car, came to Jaffna by train and lived in an ordinary old house with mats for curtains. Our colonial bishop set a far better example than his national successor. This local retired Bishop, after telling us about the extravagance of colonial Bishops, sent his wife to plead successfully for a car that cost the diocese over Rs. 5 million, one for which he as a retired bishop was not entitled.

Many Hindus speak sniggeringly of that Bishop staying at the Vavuniya Rest House on his way to Jaffna with the then Archdeacon drinking heavy liquor.  Recall also that when the Archbishop came a couple of years ago and was hosted at BMICH to dinner, we entertained with Champaign when most of us do not touch liquor. Who is to blame for that colonial extravagance: the Archbishop or our own leaders? Let’s not blame everything on our former masters when it is we who are so colonial in our mindset.

2. That retired Bishop said that 4 dioceses are required to form a province because when one bishopric is vacant they need three Bishops to consecrate. That is bluff because all our Bishops were consecrated using Bishops from sister churches. It was a transparent attempt to have more bishops to increase support for more dioceses. He forgot and let on that Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Korea were made Provinces with only 2 dioceses. So why can we not also be made a province with 2 dioceses?

3. Like a donkey induced to pull a cart by holding  carrot extended on a stick by the driver, he dangled the possibility of Jaffna getting a Bishop. Not understanding Jaffna, he suggested we could join the JDCSI as if to be rid of Tamils from the Church of Ceylon. He did not mention that an estimate by the Colombo diocese’s Finance Committee found that parishes in Jaffna and Batticaloa do not contribute sufficiently to support another diocese. The report under  Prince Nayagam found  Galle Archdeaconry “to be financially viable. Nuwara Eliya Archdeaconry was identified as a growing Archdeaconry” but not financially strong enough to have a bishop. Adding a diocese therefore will come only  by splitting Colombo and making it into two dioceses, taking out the Moratuwa and Galle areas and making a separate diocese/bishopric out of them. 

Many Tamils plan to vote for a diocese thinking that we will have our own diocese without knowing the Prince Nayagam report that we do not have the finances for a diocese.

The idea of lopping off Dehiwela and South into the Galle Diocese has raised concerns, even shackles: where will St. Thomas’ College go? Will Colombo Anglicans still have access to STC for their children? Will the children of priests under Colombo who have had a free ride at St. Thomas’ and all church schools continue to have that? Will Ladies’ College and Bishop’s College in Colombo be accessible to those say from Dehiwela and South of it moved to the new Galle Diocese?

Advantages of an Outside Archbishop: The Tamils

Like everything in Sri Lanka,  Tamils are neglected although I am pretty sure we form the Anglican majority. Documents are quickly translated into Sinhalese (e.g., the Constitution) but not Tamil. The Tamil liturgy calling God unholy remains in force despite a resolution calling for revision 4 years ago. 

Many Tamils fear that with the Church already dominated by the Sinhalese despite the probable Tamil majority, the new Province would be a Sinhalese Province with no recognition of Tamil aspirations as all things under the Rajapaksas are going. We remember that except for a few voices, there is no support in the Church for devolution for the North-East or for the prosecution of war crimes. As such there is fear that with all Bishops including the Presiding Bishop being a Sinhalese as now, the Church would not voice any support for safeguarding Tamils.

On the other hand, with Canterbury there is some chance of a voice in protest should atrocities occur against Tamils. Although Sinhalese leaders counter-argue that the Archbishop has never made a statement on our conflict, they bury the fact that the Archbishop “slammed” the British government in his Easter sermon this year for its plan to put some asylum-seekers on one-way flights to Rwanda, saying “sub-contracting out our responsibilities to refugees cannot stand up to God’s scrutiny”. In fact, many of the refugees sheltering in the UK are Tamil. 

Rowan Williams, a previous Archbishop at the height of the War in 2007 pleaded that he “hoped and prayed that [the war] would lead to an opening of communication between the government and the Tamil Tigers …not to victory for one, defeat for another, but to an opening of communication, a re-establishment of the possibilities for civil society to develop.”

In fact, when Bishop Shantha Francis of Kurunagala, a Tamil, embezzled money and put his troubles on Sinhalese communalism and LTTE politics, it was helpful that the record was set straight by an English Archbishop who forced him to resign as Diocesan Bishop (a Bishop in charge of a diocese) but remains a Bishop of the Church. The word of an outsider was credible at a time the Sinhalese and Tamils were bickering. That is another strong benefit of an outsider as our Archbishop. 

The benefit and importance of an outside Archbishop was brought to the fore when Bishop Reginald Stephen Copleston of Colombo in 1876 suspended the licences of 12 CMS priests who favoured the low-church practices of their Tamil congregations. On receiving a complaint from the Tamil parishes,  the Archbishop urged Bishop Copleston to retract his hasty step. 

With all Bishops and Archbishop Sinhalese as seems increasingly likely as Moratuwa-Galle becomes another diocese, such a correction as on the 12 priests’ licences would be well-nigh impossible.

Besides, when we are all Christians, is it fair to call the Archbishop of Canterbury colonial? We all belong to sister churches. That is denied when it comes to the Archbishop of Canterbury who is labelled as colonial by proponents of another diocese, while the Bishop of Kurunagala repeatedly refers to Hinduism and Buddhism as our sister faiths when in reality we have strong differences of faith with them, especially on matters of brotherhood in equality.

Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo’s Election

The previously nonchalant Archbishop now wants us to be an independent Church, because he had his fingers burnt when the last election for Bishop of Colombo failed. Usually, the winning candidate has to get 2/3 from clergy and 2/3 from laity. In the past the second candidate withdrew and the first became the only candidate and secured this. But that has not happened in recent times with the second not withdrawing and the election being deemed a failure. This was the case with Dhilo Cnagasabey who came second to Duleep de Chickera and then Perry Borher who came second to Dushantha Rodrigo.

Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey (who succeeded de Chickera) made clear his preference for Perry Brohier rather than Dushantha Rodrigo. He also arranged for a large number of persons without the customary theology training to be ordained as priests, as if to slant at least the clergy numbers in Brohier’s favour. It was critical because the church votes separately as house of laity and house of clergy, and the vote appeared close. The lay votes are more difficult to manipulate as we are mostly appointed by our parishes. The results for Rodrigo and Brohier were therefore, Rodrigo: Clergy 48 (42.86%), Laity 136 (54.62%); Brohier: Clergy 46 (41.07%), Laity 62 (24.90%);.

Rodrigo got the majority in both houses despite the newly appointed, untrained, fast-tracked priests. But the election failed. His win in the House of Clergy would have been even more convincing if not for the manipulated ordaining of the outgoing bishop’s men. It seemed weirdly like SLPP supporting refugees from Mannar being relocated to vote in other areas like Puttalam and Mullaitivu to enhance the SLPP’s electoral prospects, even hiring buses for the voters.

Although the Bishop’s election was held on 15 Aug. 2020, it was only on 28 Sept. 2020 that the appointment of Dushantha Rodrigo as Bishop was announced by the Anglican Communion News Service. In his statement, Archbishop Justin Welby apologised “that it has taken me a little time to understand the needs of the diocese, and to identify the qualities that will be needed in its next bishop.” Obviously, tale bearers had been at work. 

Archbishop Welby added: “I am most grateful to all those who have expressed their views to me so clearly and candidly – not only the members of the formal Consultative Body but also members of the Diocesan Standing Committee, former bishops, and many more.” I was not one of them.

Welby who had been distant from the church, now hated the politicking that occurred and wanted to be free of us. Poignantly, he said, “I congratulated him [Rodrigo] personally by telephone on Friday and am glad to declare my support for him publicly today.” 

Why was the declaration of support delayed? A promise seems to have been extracted in offering Rodrigo the post. As reported by NewsFirst, the Archbishop added, “that Fr. Rodrigo had assured [sic.] that he would give priority to enable the Church of Ceylon to take its proper place as a fully independent province in the life of the wider Anglican Communion.” [That bad English misusing the transitive verb “inform,” although all too commonly seen in Standing Committee Minutes, I doubt is from the Archbishop who surely knows better].

The pound of flesh had been extracted. A Church that began advocating freedom from Britain as the basis for provincial status, is now seeking that status in obedience to colonial authority. Rather oddly, despite being made independent of Canterbury, we would be in the Anglican Communion, as colonial an institution as they come. Our origins are colonial. It is an inescapable fact, even though our Bishops would invoke their ant-colonial empty rhetoric of the Sinhalese to claim that without our Archbishop in Canterbury we would not be colonial. 

All our institutions, prayerbook etc., even Church titles, would be colonial. So for indigenous authenticity the same colonial titles will be used, but these officials will make new moves to light candles at church during Theepavali and introduce Maatuppongal in church, presumably with dung droppings in church and the priest chanting the required Hindu mantras and putting red and yellow pastes on cows. Even the cows will not be authentic as no Anglican in Colombo or even Jaffna has a domestic cow to be bathed and would need to borrow one. These harebrained schemes are from Jaffna’s Archdeacon Parimalachelvan who has Bishop Rodrigo so enthralled that the Bishop calls it Maadu-pongal, meaning beef stew boiled with rice, another cultural innovation in the style of Sangam literature describing goat boiled with rice. Contrary to expectations, Hindus will laugh at us rather than be impressed by our claims to be indigenous.

Failed Resolution for New Diocese

With the Archbishop spurring us because he hated the politicking he had been drawn into in the appointment of Bishop Rodrigo, the move to spearhead the formation of a diocese was put in the hands of Dr. Narmesena Wickramasinghe. He with Ramesh Schaffter (Rev. since) moved a simple resolution at the 2018 Diocesan Council “to seek permission from the Anglican Consultative Council for the Church of Ceylon be [sic.] recognized as a fully autonomous Province comprising two Dioceses […] whilst the Synodical process for the establishment of a third Diocese is being pursued under the present Constitution of the Church of Ceylon.” 

That resolution was vehemently opposed by Council Members, although it had a strong chance of success because many Anglicans like to be in the Bishop’s good books when voting openly in a matter he favoured. But a bombshell was a request from Mr. K. Manivannan of Gintupiddy for a Secret ballot. Now there was no chance of passage. Dr. Wickramasinghe precipitously withdrew his resolution supposedly on a point of order but mentioned no point of order. Bishop Canagasabey colluded in letting the resolution be withdrawn on an unspecified point of order before the resolution was defeated. 

The Bishop would later mention “his disappointment and grief over the issue and urged his people to follow Christian principles in dealing with difficult issues.” A refreshing reliance indeed on Jesus Christ while manipulating all His teachings (charity, love, etc.) to aggrandize personal power.

Dr. Wickramasinghe explained “the diocese have [sic.] not understood the structure of the Anglican Communion. [He] requested the Bishop to put it to the relevant committees for study, especially at the grassroots level.”

Rural Deanery Consultations

Accordingly, all area deaneries were consulted. The North Deanery met in Kilinochchi. Few wanted a new Bishopric. Some senior people were sent from Colombo to persuade us. The senior-most man was a person who exploited a woman who went to him for counselling over her husband’s unfaithfulness but was nonetheless given a scholarship and promoted to Archdeacon. He provides a futuristic view of what the church will soon be. He was aggressive, going up to my wife who spoke against a diocese and whispering that she is a disgrace to the church.  Others came to her podium as if to assault her. The then Archdeacon insulted those assembled saying “You know only to shoot people.” Two Colombo women sent to persuade locals claimed not to speak Tamil and asked for English-Tamil translations although both were schooled in Tamil. When the decision goes against the Bishop’s wishes, the style of the church is not to put the matter to a vote. So, it was at Kilinochchi.

It was strong opposition everywhere in the South too, especially Colombo. A centralized meeting in Talawa to which Anglican Bishops from abroad were brought in, to pressure and cajole us, met strong opposition. An African Bishop, a special adviser to the Archbishop, scolded all of us as if talking to slaves for opposing the new diocese. 

Despite the hierarchy’s failure to persuade the faithful, some priests say positive feedback was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and that the truth of what the Church reported to Canterbury is transpiring only now after Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo took over. We seem to have a lying hierarchy.

Servile Standing Committee and Dishonest Bishop Canagasabey

At the time to block this manipulation, Roy Jeyakumar of the Church of the Holy Spirit Vavuniya and I proposed a resolution that simply said “We do not want another diocese.” We were not strongly against a diocese but when everything being done to promote a diocese was so badly dirty and Rajpaksa-like, we felt strongly moved to stop it. 

The Registrar blocked our resolution at the Standing Committee pronouncing the resolution to be contrary to the provisions of the diocesan Constitution and concerns a matter beyond the competence of the Council and is detrimental to the fellowship and unity of the body of Christ in the Diocese.”

Every member of the Standing Committee, if awake, must have known the Registrar was contriving to mislead us. Like the servile members they all are, they kept quiet. As I recall, the then Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo also sat in castrated silence as a member of the Standing Committee without objecting to this obviously dishonest opinion. The diocese was extra-constitutionally stopped by Bishop Canagasabey from considering our resolution. I sensed a lack of shame in the Church playing dirty.

The Rajapaksas I am sure would have used a more subtle and sophisticated move than Bishop Canagasabey’s dishonest, clumsy, Machiavellian means of blocking our resolution which the diocese deserved to hear and consider.  

Remember Rajapaksas’ changes at the Committee Stage to the Provincial Council Bill as a means of aborting it first, and then passing it without annexures to prevent its implementation?

Standing Committee Appointments

I have been on the Standing Committee off and on since the 1990s and, mistakenly, took the Bishops at their word. There is provision for the Standing Committee to nominate 10  laymen to the Diocesan Council. Every year I saw strange representatives coming to council without realizing that someone had usurped our authority and I was prevented from participating in my duties. 

Similarly, the Standing Committee co-opts three persons to itself. That authority is also usurped. Who exercises it, I do not know. I simply assumed that things are done lawfully. I was wrong. The Rajapaksas at least arrange for things to be seemly.

Similarly my wife who is now an elected Member of the Standing Committee now comes across strange persons supposedly appointed by her as a Standing Committee or Diocesan Council Member without even knowing who they are.

Likewise, we have a Steering Committee to guide the formation of a new Diocese – or so we are told. My wife does not know who thy are. Nor do I. We have both been elected to the Standing Committee for at least 3 consecutive years. Our minutes have nothing on their provenance. The Rajapaksas have officials who will make their shenanigans look right in the Hansard.

The Church is just like Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka. A Secret Society no less, except for the co-opted Colombo coterie! No wonder they do not understand devolution when they centralize even the Standing Committee’s powers.

The Dishonest Church

But Bishop Rodrigo has given his solemn word to the Archbishop to get his appointment as Bishop. How now to get the matter through the Diocesan Council?

Nothing to worry with the Devil at work. It seems to have been decided that when we get together as a Council there is cross-fertilisation of ideas. Council members will be convinced by the debates. So meetings will be parish by parish, isolated from each other and with most parishes not having educated people. Parish priests have been given a draft resolution by Secretary Arun Gamalatge, unsigned and undated, stating: “This Parish resolves that: 

It supports the steps taken by the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Colombo to establish a new Diocese/Dioceses within the Church of Ceylon.”

The problem is that the Diocesan Council has never passed a resolution supporting another diocese. To the best of my knowledge even the Standing Committee has passed no such resolution. Are Anglican priests so dishonest that they will put this to their parishes and try to trick them into believing that all these decisions have been already taken? More likely, many will put it to their parishes without reading the resolution and fall prey to the wiles of Secretary and Gamalatge and Bishop Rodrigo who sent this resolution to  “Vicars, Priests-in-Charge and Lay Officers.” But the meeting and voting will involve the whole parish, including Sunday School children – whereas the Parochial Church Council is the only authentic electoral body at parish level. Even my wife who is on the Standing Committee cannot be on it, but she and I have both been invited with Sunday School children to sit and vote!  It will therefore surely be a manipulated vote of no meaning. 

In the Rajapaksa universe, these subtleties do not matter, do they?

And does the Diocesan Secretary think that Vicars are not Priests-in-Charge? The diocese is at a low point, morally, administratively and democratically.

Once the parishes and children not on the electoral roll pass this resolution, those parish statements will be presented at the Diocesan Council to stifle discussion.

We only have the trappings of democracy. A parish of one-hundred might have only one representative sent to the Diocesan Council. There he or she will have only 3-5 minutes to speak at the diocesan council and only once. One from outside Colombo will be unknown to most and stands little chance of being elected to the Standing Committee. If he or she is lucky to be elected to the Standing Committee, the untruthful ruling by the Bishop, Registrar and Secretary on whatever he or she raises would be ruled as not permitted.

Is that democracy or is it the Rajapaksa world co-opted within the Church?

Is the Church Christian?

The Church that is so devious and dishonest, deserves not to expand but to be shut down. Bishop Rodrigo who has had clean hands should keep them clean rather than tricking parishes into a dishonest resolution. He should tell the Archbishop that he promised something he cannot deliver – at least not honestly deliver.

An honest Bishop and Christian Diocese are more important than an Archbishop, 4 Bishops and their palaces and fleets of cars and colossally wasteful staffs when the diocese said there is no money to look after our poor during the pandemic even as Rs. 10 millions cars were purchased for archdeacons and principals. 

As the country goes through its present travails, the church should break out of the Rajapaksa model it has taken on for itself so far, deceiving the faithful to achieve personal power. An untruthful Church is not worth supporting or continuing.

Bishop Rodrigo: Please wake up. Save our Church with good governance instead of malfeasance.

Post-Script

When even the Church succumbs to the widely corrupting influence of Sri Lanka’s administrative style, is there anyone free of the Rajapaksa corruption?

It seems to me that only way to clean up is for everyone to go and make way for the new generation. They too might be corrupt through their parents or weakened by lack of experience, but we need to take a chance with them. We must find a way to put them in leadership.

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Latest comments

  • 8
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    No more evidence is needed to realize the truth that ‘God’ or spirituality have nothing to do with the Church – or any religious organization for that matter. These are highly dysfunctional bureaucracies more concerned with perpetuating themselves than working for the original aims for which they were founded. The are rife with more intrigue and corruption than secular institutions. If you want to save your soul, you must keep away from them. Thanks Prof. Hoole for warning the public.

    • 3
      1

      Thank you Ajay.
      I see your point and agree that the article may lead people to keep away from the Church.
      But that is not my intention. I readily state that a lot of what I am, I owe to the Church.
      It is my prayer that a Go-Away-Godmen (not Go Away God) campaign will effect a new leadership that can offer the new generation all the benefits I reaped from Mother-Church.
      I am still hopeful that Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo can turn around and assert himself instead of being led by the stooges who brought the Church I love so much to the ground. For a start, he has to study the rules to run Standing Committee meetings instead of letting the present Secretary Arun Gamalatge (who is paid a colossally huge salary) make up self-serving rules as he goes along while the Bishop is happy to let the Secretary run the Church.
      I hope God is listening, and will act.

      • 4
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        “But that is not my intention.”
        JM, Who is the author of the article?

  • 3
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    The scope of work for the Standing Committee is vast. How the Bishop aggrandizes power is to say that he has only 2 hours a month (and not for all months) for one meeting. So all the powers of the Standing Committee are usurped by the Bishop’s Colombo-based cronies who take over the powers of the Standing Committee through the subcommittees on which they mysteriously appear.

  • 5
    1

    Thank you Professor Jeevan Hoole for yet another article on corruption even in the minuscule Anglican Church.
    .
    I’ll try to say something meaningful tomorrow. There are things that I have to say, not so much about Church Organisation as about how the Church is breaking all its own rules in running the schools that it governs.
    .
    I had to make many comments here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/epitaph-on-a-tyrant/
    .
    Also I’m “recovering” from a dental appointment. So, please give me time. I’ve got to think out many things.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe
    .

    • 4
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      This is an article that matters a great deal to the Anglican Church, but it just won’t attract much support from readers who are focussed on seeing the end of the Rajapaksas.
      .
      Poor Justin Welby probably was unable to comprehend this storm-in-a-tea cup with only 20,000 Anglicans in the entire country. The average Anglican doesn’t understand his predicament. I visited the Anglican Church in Maharagama today. One normally intelligent man thought that there are more than 150,000. I disagreed, but didn’t precipitate a controversy.
      .
      I’m more interested in the schools, but most readers are sick of that story. The Anglican Church has ceased to be of much significance. So, instead of wasting time here, what I have done is written a longish letter to the Bishop of Colombo.
      .
      I have asked him to do something so simple; give me an assurance that a Branch School Board of Governors Representative will be properly elected in March 2024.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

      • 4
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        They never reply. That is how they evade accountability.

      • 3
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        Dear Jaffna Man.
        .
        You know these clerics better than I do; if your prediction proves true, what should I do?
        .
        If the Bishops & their acolytes don’t respond, I wonder whether my letter to Bishop Dushantha could be published as an Open Letter to the Bishop, by Colombo Telegraph. What I have here established is not anything as significant as others submit.
        .
        However, the reason to act on this is that it is so straightforward; and I don’t have any desire to have punishment meted out to miscreants. I just don’t want repetition. Now, if he can’t give me an assurance of this, there will be no point having four Bishops.

  • 3
    2

    “So for indigenous authenticity the same colonial titles will be used, but these officials will make new moves to light candles at church during Theepavali and introduce Maatuppongal in church, presumably with dung droppings in church and the priest chanting the required Hindu mantras and putting red and yellow pastes on cows.”
    That seems a very serious worry for the author.
    What about a statue of Arumuga Navalar next to the altar? That will make life more interesting.

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    Gamlatgogama is more important than gotagogama for our priestsgetting beaten at GF green, if they care for the flock. Gamlatge is too crafty for a Christian and is too permanent. Be discerning.

    Is Thanjs Peiris appointing a non graduate fashionista to Ladies as Vice Principal and a potential future Principal? Is it still a dumb finishing school that she takes all CMS schools for?

    Where are the highest traditions of the Anglican Church we were raised in? On beauty and truth and goodness, elevating our souls to heaven? Who tells us these things anymore?

    Why deny heaven to your flock Bishop? Why are good men and women arginalized in the Church of Ceylon?

    Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo, are you shepherd of Christ’s sheep who is letting the goats have it all? It’s time.

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      T
      “Bishop Dushantha Rodrigo, are you shepherd of Christ’s sheep who is letting the goats have it all?”
      I do not get what you are trying to get at.
      Does faith demand the followers to be all sheep?
      Sheep produce wool for fabric.
      But I think that goats are cleverer animals that find their way without being shown.

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    There are momentous and amazing things happening at National level in Lanka. What has been dealt with in this article may appear insignificant in comparison. However, it all adds up.
    .
    This 28 minute video in excellent English was received by me today.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjJHLizWgzY
    .
    I understood it all; not many will. In any case the video requires not so much listening as pausing and reading. If you do that it’ll take most Anglicans about three hours to understand it. No, it didn’t take me that long, because I know this stuff pretty well. I’m sorry if this paragraph riles many, but it is the truth. Note that after two days only 62 have seen this; nobody has liked it; nobody has commented on it. Perhaps I will comment!
    .
    Since it is so much off the point, I’ve given it a ‘DISLIKE” – after writing the previous paragraph. On Youtube, they don’t show subsequent readers that some have disliked it. Strange, isn’t it?
    .
    Never mind; time to start another comment in which I tell you about my experiences today, the 18th. It’s almost midnight so the next comments will show a different date.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe

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      I have finally spoken to Bishop Dushantha for 1 minute 55 seconds, yesterday, the 18th May at 4.05 pm; he told me that he was at Gurutalawa (that is the S. Thomas’ College there, in the hills of Uva.) He said that the signals were so poor that he couldn’t hear me; this I’m sure is true, but how can anything be ever discussed with him?
      .
      I try to contact him usually by calling his Secretarial Staff at his Baudahloka Mawatha, Colombo 7 Office. Having been advised by them on his whereabouts, I then call him on his mobile phone. On Tuesday, the 17th of May, I travelled up from Colombo to Bandarawela in a train that started off at 8.30 am, but got got delayed for five hours owing to a fallen tree. On the train were the parents and grandparents of a student at STC, Gurutalawa. The school was celebrating its 80th birthday. I got home, and checked with the school website, a report that has already disappeared, although I now see this:
      .
      https://www.facebook.com/sportsunitstcg/
      .
      To understand just how chaotic all this is, please follow links provided by me here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-bisho

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