Oct 212010
 

by Anura Guruge

Just in case you didn’t know, I am a Sri Lankan by birth, though I left in August 1967, a week prior to my 14th birthday. I became a Brit in 1983. I have had very little contact with Sri Lanka over the last 30 years. I last visited in 1992, for 72 hours, accompanying my mother’s body from Paris. Yes, my father was the Sri Lankan ambassador to France and the U.S.A. I do NOT know Ranjith. This Summer I did send him an e-mail asking him whether he could help me when we were trying to sort out precedence among the Cardinal Bishops. He never responded. I gather that that is par for the course with him. [The Web master of the archdiocese Web site, who knows me, sent me the ‘correct’ e-mail address.] I have corresponded, gainfully, with the prior Archbishop, who has been friends with my father for 60 years. So that is my disclaimer.


Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, the 'Very Tanned Ratzinger'

Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, the 'Very Tanned Ratzinger'

Since early October I was getting calls and e-mails about Ranjith Don’s elevation. If you read the comments posted on this blog you will find a lively debate as to the pros and cons of Ranjith Don’s elevation. You will even see that a couple of Sri Lankan’s ‘shamed’ Father John into including his name in the top picks though there was much skepticism by many.

Yes, already the calls and e-mails have started, as soon as it was announced that he will indeed be created a cardinal at the November 20, 2010, cardinal creating consistory. I am, of course, delighted. [But, I won’t bother to send him a congratulatory e-mail.]

So here is my take on the pros and cons of his papabile status:

Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don as The Next Pope by Anura Guruge

Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don as The Next Pope by Anura Guruge

  40 Responses to “Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Sri Lanka, The Next Pope?”

  1. Hi Anura,

    Four other additions to your matrix on the Pro Side;

    1) The ability to speak a few European Languages (a plus to converse with many cardinals and for the universal church) a crucial criteria for popes in 21st Century

    2) Having served as Nuncio for the largest Islamic country in Indonesia has given him some diplomatic experience, but more importantly experience in maintaining a dialogue with Islam; a conflict area the church faces today

    3) Has served in two different curia positions; an operational knowledge on the vatican.

    4) Being Asian actually gives an advantage as many Oceanic, Asian and African Cardinals will favor someone from their part of the world as opposed to North American or European. Let the games begin!!!

    I did mention two other points in previous posts which did materialize;

    a) The pope will choose conservatives. The conservative camp is now further strengthened.

    b) There will be more Europeans, at least more Italians got picked

    For the future;

    I reiterate Malcolm Ranjith will be appointed Prefect CDF

  2. And oh by the way….if we both work together as an advisory panel, we may well be able to elect him as the next supreme pontiff!!! Like we did for his cardinalate LOL!!!!

  3. Kenny,
    I had ASSUMED he had already called you, with YOUR marketing credentials, and signed you up as his V.P. of Marketing. [[ smile ]]

    I am SURE if the TWO of us, and Samantha, who was the PR person for SL Cricket Board, we could have him elected Pope and the President of the EU.

    LOL.

    Cheers. You made my day. Thanks.

  4. Very good. Bravo.
    I think YOUR 4) is actually my 1) said in different words.
    The ten languages … good point. But two were Tamil and Sinhalese. [[ laugh ]] I think IF we go down that path we will find others who speak more. My father USED to claim he spoke 16.

    But, this is v. good. IF I do another spin of that table I will factor some of these in.

    Thanks.

  5. I do not see why his skin color should work against him. I think it would probably work for him (and other “very tanned” papabili). Dark enough for other melanin-gifted cardinals to identify with him, but perhaps light-skinned enough to be acceptable to old-school melanin-challenged cardinals that might balk at a dark skinned African.

    I however do not like the idea of having another very conservative pope. The pope is supposed to be the supreme bridge-builder (pontifex maximus) and I do not see Ratzinger/B16 necessarily being that. That said, his Ranjith’s conservatism and closeness to B16 will probably help him given the makeup of the current college and likely development.

    As to his age (63) it wholly depends on how long B16 carries on, of course.

  6. Malcolm Ranjith might be the first Asian pope in 10 or 15 years time. Or at least the first Asian pope since the last millenium. Almost all popes had been European but I think there were a few Asians. Or at least they were born in countries part of Asia today.

  7. There have been Popes from the Mediterranean shores,but I don’t believe any from further into Asia or Africa.

    Any religious leader is either a “conservative”,measured in terms of holding strictly to whatever his religion teaches,or a hypocrite.

  8. North Africa, what is today’s Libiya. But, NO black popes.
    Cheers

  9. Dom,
    I know my books are expensive … but I grew up on the adage … if you are only willing to pay peanuts … you will only get monkeys.
    If you had ONE of my books, IF not both, you would have these facts at your fingertips.
    Last non-European pope: Gregory III (#90), from Syria, in 731. Page 40 in ‘The Next Pope’.
    At least 7 non-European popes. All 1 millennium. OK?
    Thanks.

  10. From Sri Lanka. My father forwarded it to me. I will check what appears to be ‘typos’:
    Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the cardinal archbishop of Colombo and the only Asian among the 24 who will be appointed on November 20 by Pope Benedict XVI. The announcement was made today by the same pontiff’s general audience at the end. The news was welcomed by the population and also the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has congratulated the Archbishop. AsiaNews collected some hot reviews as Christians, Buddhists, Sinhalese and Tamils of the Archdiocese of Colombo.
    P. Reginald Saparamadu, director of the Pontifical Mission of Sri Lanka, says: “I am very happy with the appointment of Cardinal Bishop. Ranjith, because in recent years has supported the Pope’s work in defense of the faith and the Church. ”
    Cliffor David, Christian, Tamil and director of a travel agency emphasizes that the Catholic community and other faiths in Sri Lanka must continue to pray that God guide the archbishop and cardinal in his path in his ministry as a priest. Chalan Senadeera, Catholic and member of the Holy Childhood of Wewala comunity, said: “I am very happy to hear that our beloved archbishop remains a cardinal, I think it’s a great opportunity for our Church.” “I – he adds – I was one of his students and he is also the founder of our community, are therefore pleased to be able to pray for him every day.”
    Madampagama Assaji Thero, a Buddhist priest and director dell’Interreligious Peace Foundation, thanked the Pope for his choice, and stresses that the appointment of Mgr. Ranjith is an enrichment for all Buddhist religious leaders in Sri Lanka. “When he was bishop of dicoesi Rathnapura – he says – has done much to interreligious dialogue, not just trying to solve the ethnic problems, but also speak directly with leaders of the Tamil Tigers.”
    Another Buddhist, Anura Ranatunga, layman and member of HelpAge, charitable organization for children, said: “I congratulate Msgr. Ranjith and I hope it can carry out successfully his new position. ” “Although I am a Buddhist – he continues – I often read his articles and books and think this is one of the few religious leaders and wise sages of this country.” The man calls Mgr. Ranjith to get even more attention to the problems of the country and hopes that with his appointment in the future will lead the authorities of Sri Lanka on the right track.
    Marimuttu Sathivel, Anglican priest in Tamil, congratulated the archbishop, but his criticism conmtinui relations with the government and hopes that his appointment as cardinal is an opportunity to improve the political situation in the country.
    Born in 1947 in a Catholic family of Columbus, Msgr. Ranjith was educated in a school of the Brothers of Christian schools in La Salle. In 1966 he entered the major seminary in Kandy and was later transferred to Rome, the College of Propaganda Fide, to complete his theological studies. Ordained in 1975 by Paul VI in 1978 and returned home in July 1991 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo. After three years becoming bishop of the new Diocese of Ratnapura, a position he held until October 1, 2001 when he was appointed secretary to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. On April 29, 2004 became apostolic nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor, and he was awarded the title of archbishop Umbriatico. From December 10, 2005 is secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI named him Archbishop of Colombo. Since 2010, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka. Recently, Mgr. Ranjith has published a diocesan liturgical abuses of his archdiocese, in which it called sobriety in the liturgy and the utmost attention to the proper celebration of the Eucharist, asking religious and faithful to receive Communion in the mouth and on her knees

  11. OK. I am CALMER NOW. Please, IF YOU are NOT ‘colored’ please don’t tell us coloreds about the implications of skin color. It is like YOU going up to a 36 year old woman and telling her that her period cramps are nothing. [Yes, they get worse with age, if they have stopped taking the Pill.]
    Though, I do have an e-mail from YOU, I am still none the wiser as to where you are from.
    OK. Given my background (father worked for UN(ESCO), was a diplomat and in politics) and my proclivity to world matters, let me share some secrets.
    There is NO GUARANTEE that other ‘very tanned’ cardinals will vote for another ‘very tanned’ papabile!
    If anything, given it is a SECRET BALLOT, they will vote against him. Why, envy, jealously and petty politics.
    The cardinals from India would rather elect a pope from Canada than one from Sri Lanka. World politics. Plus, Sri Lanka whoops them at cricket. And we have the world’s greatest bowler.
    So your assumption is way, way in out field.
    Plus, there aren’t enough non-whites to get even CLOSE to 2/3rds.
    But, I will grant YOU … your HEART is in the right place.
    I was out with my wife much of the day. I saw your comment this morning. I fumed about it much of the day.
    But, I am COOL now.
    PEACE.
    Thanks & Cheers,
    Anura

  12. Kenny,
    I e-mailed my father about this too. I will e-mail him again, or most likely speak to him Saturday, about YOUR question re. Rajapaksa.

    Kenny, re. Ranjit and your earlier comments … can you please answer these questions for us:
    1/ Wasn’t his appointment to Indonesia seen as him being sent to exile by the curia powers as had happened to della Chiesa?
    2/ Do we know whether he did anything significant while in Indonesia?
    3/ Did Ranjit ever do or say anything to help the peace during the conflict?

    I will factor all of this. Thanks, Kenny.

  13. Anura,

    1) Cardinal Sepe, who was the Prefect of the Congregation of evangelization, had issues working with adjunct secretary, and hence the transfer. Sepe himself was banished from the Curia, to Naples when Benedict came into power on corruption.

    2) The role of a Nuncio is limited. As any diplomat, they cannot comment or indulge in local politics. Further for the Nuncio, he cannot interfere in any local church affairs. He has no jurisdiction. All he has to do is to pass info up to the Vatican, especially he has to recommend who should be elevated to the episcopate etc. He is the local eyes and ears to the Vatican (First hand data gathering than the CIA! LOL) Hence he would not have had any opportunities to do anything significant.

    3) I have answered this

    Malcolm is an excellent organizer and initiator to his credit.

    Also his affiliations with Pope Benedict stretches further than what most people know. In fact, in 1997 it was Malcolm, at that point a young Auxiliary Bishop who initiated the infamous excommunication of a Sri Lankan priest. The excommunication was a global affair as it was after a lapse of decades the Vatican actually excommunicated someone. It even got attention on Time Magazine.

    Here is the fun part. It was Cardinal Ratzinger, who was the guardian of the Doctrine of Faith. That was one of the very first instances Ratzinger took note of this young Bishop for his conservative nature. The rest as they say is history!

  14. Wow, Kenny, THANK YOU. I will have to dig up the 1997 story. If you have a link (or two) please post or e-mail.
    Very good.
    Kenny, let me think about this for a few days. I will re-do my chart.
    Have you notified Sri Lanka how ‘Rom Reports’ dished their Archbishop. I am still amazed.
    Thanks, my friend. Cheers,
    Anura

  15. In 1997,Ranjith Patabendige Don was not an auxiliary bishop,he was the ordinary of Ratnapura…a diocese created in 1995,which in 2006 had a bishop appointed who apparently resigned before installation and is still listed as youngest bishop in Sri Lanka…what happened there?

  16. Welcome back.
    Louis, I think I answered your 1997 question a few minutes earlier … with a link.
    I did know about him and the incident. He gets mentioned when they talk about dissident theologians.
    I think Fr. John is on the road. When he gets back I will try to incite him to commenting on Tissa B. [As with ‘Malcolm,’ ‘Tissa’ is a special name for me. A pioneering cricket hero from the 60s when Ceylon was making tentative steps into the international arena.]
    Just for the record, Kenny knows Ranjit Don personally and is already planning to see him, in person, at Christmas when he visits home.
    Please check the link. You will have a hay day … or possibly even a hey, hey, hey day.
    Thanks and Cheers.
    Glad you are back.

  17. Sorry, missed the Ratnapura part. Read it TOO FAST.
    Lets see if Kenny knows. We could Google.
    Don’t think my father would know. He retired in 1994 and moved to L.A.
    Kenny?
    [[ Yes, I know I have 2 emails to respond. Kind of thinking. Also back to working on dwarf planets.]]

  18. I looked it up. Ivan Tilak Jayasundera. Claimed he was resigning because of ill health — he was but 46. Yes, seems strange. But, given a diet very high in poly-saturates (mainly from coconut oil in different forms), carbs and sweets, Sri Lanka leaves the USA in the dust when it comes to heart disease and diabetes. [Ironically, any and all instances of cancer in the ENTIRE digestive system is rare — most likely due to the extremely hot curries.]
    It could have been politics. The conflict was still raging. I think he was Sinhalese. Ratnapura is famous for its gems, especially sapphires.
    Cheers.

  19. Prefect of PDF, I see the logic and agree. A matter of few years. As for Pope, I agree with Citizen. We needa bridge builder. We have already 2 dams in a row. Will read about poor Tissa later.

  20. Louis,

    The excommunication took place in 1997, but if my memory serves me right the process was initiated in 1994, when he was Auxiliary. I mentioned here is when he was excommunicated.

    Anura,

    Ivan Thilak Jayasundara, was nominated, but the local priests there did not accept the appointment. In fact, Cannon law 382 B2 states that one must take canonical possession of hid diocese within four months of the appointment, and if it does not it becomes null and void. In fact, at the point of taking possession, cannot law 383 B3 states that it should be in the presence of laity and senior priests. This is what was the case in Ratnapura, the priests were not willing to turn up to validate the appointment. Hence, the dignifying way to quit is to offer resignation.

    http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/canon/c0330-0572.htm#par668

    p.s. One more correction; I did not mention I know him personally, but an opportunity to offer my wishes personally!

  21. I trust I was clear on the Ratnapura incident. What I meant as validation is that at the point of the episcopal ordination of the bishop elect; the apostolic document (the appointment) has to be read in public by the nuncio, and it should be countersigned as being accepted by the senior priests of the diocese, and sent back to the congregation as poof of the taking of possession of the diocese.

  22. Please do.
    I read some briefly last night. Since I have NO theological training I get tripped up by words like ‘ontological’. But, I went back and read, and re-read the supposed OFFENDING statement, viz:
    “The traditional understanding of redemption in which Jesus Christ is considered the unique, universal and necessary redeemer in an ontological sense that transforms human nature is one which is not presentable in our multi-religious context.”
    Yes, I could see how some in the Vatican could get their knickers in a twist about that. But ….
    This poor guy, like me, growing up in multicultural, religiously liberal Ceylon. What he was stating was what he SAW in front of him, each and every day, in that multi-religious society. Buddhism, thank God, doesn’t have a redeemer. The Buddha was not a redeemer. He was a philosopher who put forward a proposal for ‘nirvana’ — which is different to redemption, though the end result, some would say, were roughly the same. But, Tissa would have also have to contend with the full glorious panoply of Hinduism with the fire-walking and all. [You have to go see fire-walking as it is done in Ceylon. Tissa would have seen all of this.]
    He must be close if not in his 80s. I am going to try and see if I can contact him.
    More later.
    Cheers.
    P.S., Google SRI-LANKAN firewalking.

  23. Wow. They didn’t know that he wasn’t popular beforehand? That seems amazing. Plus, for the priests to take such a stand. That is pretty amazing. Us Sri Lankans. What a bunch. It must be the sun.
    Thanks, Kenny.
    I am sorry, judging by your remarks, I ASSUMED (incorrectly) that you had got to know him over the years.
    My father, ever the diplomat, is writing him a letter of congratulations. My father thinks it would be great for SL and Asia if he was made pope — but I think we all knew that.
    Cheers,
    Anura

  24. Please see earlier reply. It would appear that whoever sent the nomination to Rome AND the Congregation for Bishops didn’t do their homework. At least at the Sri Lankan end, all I can think, is that they were too busy watching cricket.

  25. So a revolting diocese can refuse its appointed bishop?…I wonder what use might be made of this by the American liberal fringes,the closest I’ve heard (geographically) is the rejection of Gerhard Maria Wagner as auxiliary in Linz.I don’t think the Wielgus affair qualifies.

  26. Quite a concept … right? New to me. I am gob smacked. Trust the Sri Lankans to find any loophole. [Yet again on Friday, I met somebody who had never heard of Sri Lanka.]
    OK. Quick general knowledge question, and I have a SINKING feeling that you will know this, without Googling.
    Who was the world’s first female prime minister?
    Glad you are on the ball. I am going to work on ONE of your posts today … sacrificing work on the book for my daughter.
    Thanks & Cheers
    Anura

  27. Since you’re bringing up Sri Lanka that’s a lead to Mrs. Bandaranaike…but after her I think it was Elisabeth Donitien of the Central African Republic in 1975-6.

  28. Aunty Sirimavo, was Prime Minister way before that. 1960. Remember I left 1967. She had already been PM for a long time. Much of that time, I started every school day talking to her on the phone. This was the time that she and my father confiscated Catholic schools. What fun. I tried to get Ab. Gomis to talk about it recently. He clammed up. 1960, rough numbers, 90% of schools in Ceylon were fee-based. By 1965, only 10%. That included the Buddhist school that I attended. My father took that over. For about 2 years, nearly daily, I used to get scolded by various teachers. It would be like: “Anura! Stand-up. You see that bulb over there … that one that isn’t working. That is your father’s fault. If not for him, I could call up and have it replaced. But, now it is all government. Your father’s fault. OK, you can sit down.” So you can understand, why comments on this blog doesn’t phase me.

  29. I had thought she took office in 1959.So your father was aligned with SLFP rather than UNP?(But was Premadasa’s ambassador?)
    Is “Don” a proper name or an honorific there?(Thinking “Don Stephen Senanayake”,vs. “…Ranjith Patabendige Don”).
    So did your phone calls include light bulb requests?

  30. Somewhere in that range. I was born 1953. Left 1967. So all this took place in those 14 years.
    My father’s politics would make a medieval pope proud! He always claimed be was but a simple Civil Servant (the capital ‘C’ was important because he was one of 8 or 9 who qualified and were made Civil Servants by the British … before the Ceylon government used the term ‘civil servant’ to mean anybody that worked for the government).
    He was very, very closely aligned with the Bandaranaike’s — husband and wife. He was Private Secretary to Mr. Solomon Dias. I don’t, obviously, remember this, but this is part of the family lore. 1953. One of the very EARLY communal riots … that 30 years later escalated into the 30 year conflict. State of emergency. Traffic restricted. I was born. My father borrowed the P.M.’s Rolls Royce to take me home. That is my father. Likes symbolism. We had many states of emergency with curfews etc. during my 14 years. We could always drive. We had a black German car with a number plate that ended 110. That was a laissez passer. Funny story. When we were leaving in 1967, somebody made a very high bid for that car. So high that my father was ‘curious.’ Had the police check. It was a professional smuggler (Ceylon had draconian import restrictions, not even apples, grapes or chocolates). He worked out that at least two runs in that car would pay for the higher price.
    My father worked for both SLFP and UNP prime ministers and presidents — without any noticeable change in circumstances!
    I have my own theories.
    People keep on telling me to write a book.
    Every once in awhile, and I learned not to tell my father, of all the scoldings … my father would send armies of maintenance workers to my school. Then come around to inspect.

  31. Anura,

    There is no common consensus to elect a person as a Bishop. The nuncio does this in secret, meaning ‘consultations’ in secret. No one knows who is nominated. They usually don’t wait until a diocese is vacant to fill a position, but rather possible candidates are regularly sent to the congregation. Only the nuncio has the discretion to recommend. Sometimes it works, at other times the congregation will ask him to submit a fresh set of names altogether. The final say is with the congregation. In this instance of course it was the priests!

    Louis,

    Parallels can be drawn to the case of Gerhard Maria Wagner, the circumstance however though is much different. It was the people who seems to have left the church with the appointment, and not the priests. I guess he could have gone ahead with the episcopal ordination. It is the signatures of the priests that are required in the document and not that of the people for it it be validated.

  32. I know the Raja di-Hilir of Perak (second in line to the throne though the most genealogically senior of anyone formally in line) is a retired civil servant (apparently many Malaysian royals are civil servants) and has a white dress uniform,but I don’t know if its insignia identify his civil service rank or his royal rank.

  33. He was probably a Civil Servant — per the old, British colonial system. My father’s ‘batch’ were the first that did NOT have to pass a horse riding exam. My father would have failed miserably! We all know that. Walking and a bit of swimming are the limits of his physical prowess. But, they had to sit and pass numerous exams, including being proficient in at least two languages. My father did not wear or have a uniform.

  34. “So you can understand, why comments on this blog doesn’t phase me.”

    How can you say that!!! How many times have you gone off on some comments on here!!!!

    DENIAL!!!!

    LMAO!!!

  35. Aaaah!
    Can’t fool a priest?
    Aaaah, that hurt.
    But, how do YOU know what is feigned or what is not?
    Like my famous temper. Once a year, whether I like it or not, I erupt. Usually the subject of my outburst ends up requiring mental therapy for life. But, I pretend to get angry. Still works.
    Plus, you might find this HARD to believe given the comments … I APPROVE.
    But, there are a FEW that I delete. Yep, there is still some censorship.
    I was and did for a few days, approve all the ones that called me STUPID, BIGOTED, IDIOT, MANIAC, SEX ADDICT etc. Most of those I take as complements.
    I also read a board up here related to the ‘region’ up here where I live. The Web master there censors. There was the usual outcry. But, then a WHOLE bunch of people pointed out … it is HIS DIME … he can do whatever he wants.
    Struck a chord. It is my damn dime — given this blog makes no money. It is a hobby. I do it, really, for the fun.
    So … my dime … why should I let bloody strangers … all of whom don’t have the gonads to use their real name (YOU ARE EXCUSED, plus I know WHO you are) … from calling me STUPID for free.
    Any time I have a need to be called STUPID all I have to do is call up my very Catholic son.
    So … Dear Father John … there is a bit more behind the scenes than you realize … plus I am not as two dimensional as so many think.
    SMILE. PEACE.
    Cheers,
    Anura

  36. I will have to ping him.
    Had another papabili list from his school — but not from Andrew. A name I have seen before. I need to do some research.
    Thanks.
    Cheers.

  37. My father forwarded this article which appeared in a Sri Lanka paper to me a few minutes ago.

    My father also said: “Anu, This may interest you. I was too busy and it was not possible to contact the new Cardinal as he was so involved. He could not come to the opening of our conference to which he was invited.”

    ***********************************

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/opinion1/27406.html

    Below is the unabridged version giving facts straight of the above article in the Daily Mirror

    Returning to the Church’s Old Ways?

    Susantha Goonatilake

    Malcolm Ranjith, the faithful disciple of the Pope and his new Cardinal has made two wrong submissions to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). One was falsely blaming the adoption of Sinhala as the medium of Government and second, asserting that there are exclusively “Tamil Only” Northern and Eastern Provinces to which the Sinhalese should be barred. Both of these are mischievous LTTE positions.

    “Sinhala only” with the “Reasonable Use of Tamil” soon following, was adopted so that locals who did not know English (only around 2% could) might do their work. Such use of local languages following decolonisation was also adopted by the Catholics in the Second Vatican Council. Consequently Catholic mass is held in Sri Lanka today in both Sinhala and Tamil. As for the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the so-called Tamil Homelands fiction has been thrown out by historians with only the LTTE and the Catholic Church supporting it.

    Catholic connections with the separatists’ project are well recorded. The founder of the International Tamil Studies Conference which became the intellectual face of the LTTE was Father Thani Nayagam. Catholic priests in LTTE Pongu celebrations drew the boundaries of Tamil Eelam. And Father Emmanuel, the former Vicar General of Jaffna, who justified LTTE suicide bombings in the Independent newspaper, is now contesting for the post of LTTE chief. And a 1999 report in ZENIT the propaganda organ of the Vatican finds Ranjith himself giving the LTTE version of the war. Christians are truly turning the other cheek on Sri Lanka.

    But Malcolm Ranjith had been very selective before. When the West, including enlightened Catholics, condemned the Pope’s silence on mass sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church, he expressed “solidarity and support” for the Pope. Instead of being ashamed, Malcolm called the Western criticism “an organised and malicious attack by international media”. He wrote to the Pontiff to express “communion with the Pope and the Church” and called for Sri Lanka Catholics to pray, not for the abused children, but “to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and his intentions”. Ranjith also objected to our school text books that described past Catholic actions against the country. But such past Catholic atrocities are easily accessible from church records themselves.

    Total Destruction

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, most of the Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka were destroyed by the Portuguese and their lands confiscated by the Catholic Church. People were forcibly converted on fear of death – probably the forefathers of Malcolm Ranjith were thus converted. These were not random barbarous acts but were powers explicitly given by the Pope to the Portuguese in the Pope’s own words in his Papal Bull (instructions) these powers were “general and indefinite powers to search out and conquer all pagans [meaning us]… … to invade and conquer their kingdoms,…To reduce to slavery their inhabitants”. And to reduce us to slavery they did try. This was the Bull Dum Diversas (a Bull was a formal instruction by the Pope). There were other equally pernicious and barbaric Bulls.

    Is there a role for Malcolm Ranjith? Yes, there is indeed and I can suggest three. The previous Pope apologised on more than 100 occasions for the crimes committed around the world by the Catholic Church especially in the atrocities committed by Spain and Portugal on countries like us. Even that Pope did not apologise to us. Ranjith can now use his good offices as a new Cardinal and demand the present Pope to apologise for what was done in Sri Lanka. He can also ask the Pope to remove from Catholic dogma to which Ranjith is also still bound, the particular Papal Bull that I quoted above. I only hope that the mischievous statements he made at the LLRC were not through obeying such Papal Bulls.

    There is further action that he could take, especially relating to Spain and Portugal from where Catholicism came to Sri Lanka. The present Pope recently visited Portugal and is currently visiting Spain. The number of Spaniards considering themselves Catholics has fallen rapidly from the earlier 100% to only 70%; and in Portugal, only 20% go to church. The governments in both countries have defied the church and allowed abortion, divorce and gay rights. In these countries the traditional homelands of the Catholics are crumbling. Ranjith is urgently required there. He should now lecture to these misguided Spanish and Portuguese to go back to their true Catholic ways. Spain unbelievably, has already built the largest stupa in the West. Should they burn the site as Cardinal Ranjith’s forefathers did in our country? He should advise.

  38. […] Lankan That'd be amazing to see him be chosen – for the man is truly a wonderful man. And many have been hoping for him for sometime…and his heart for the poor is stellar. Beautiful represenative for what's happening in parts of […]

  39. Pigs will fly first.

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