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Sri Lanka:Catholic Church under scrutiny

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Friday October 21, 2011 20:06author by William Gomesauthor email williamgomes.org at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Today I am writing to draw your urgent attention on an urgent situation which is rightly raised by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Fr. Prasad Pereira obstructs the use of a national monument for the disappeared in Sri Lanka. Due to the unwise and unfriendly actions of Fr. Prasad Pereira towards families of the disappeared people the whole Church and its love towards the fellow brothers is questioned by the peace loving people.

21st October 2011

 

His Holiness

Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

 

Your Holiness,

 

 

Sri Lanka: Catholic Church is questioned by peace loving people for cruel attitude towards families of the disappeared

 

 

I am William Nicholas Gomes; I belong to the Holy Catholic Church, by profession I am a human rights activist and journalist. I am inspired by the church to work for justice and peace.

 

Today I am writing to draw your urgent attention on an urgent situation which is rightly raised by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Fr. Prasad Pereira obstructs the use of a national monument for the disappeared in Sri Lanka.  Due to the unwise and unfriendly actions of Fr. Prasad Pereira towards families of the disappeared people the whole Church and its love towards the fellow brothers is questioned by the peace loving people.

 

Over the past several decades, Sri Lanka has experienced tens of thousands of enforced disappearances, the vast majority of which remain unresolved. 

 

The national monument for the disappeared at Raddoluwa, Seeduwa is nationally and internationally known and respected place where the families of the disappeared persons gather to pay respects for their loved ones who are counted among the disappeared in Sri Lanka.

 

Every year a large number of the families of the disappeared gather on 27 October to have religious ceremonies and to place wreaths before the photographs of their family members. Those who have watched this moving remembrance have found that the families commemorate this day with religious fervour.

 

The monument is placed near St. Cecilia’s church at Raddoluwa junction, in Sri Lanaka.

When the monument was eructed the then parish priest of the church Fr. Cyril Anthony actively cooperated in the commemorations and even allowed the Buddhist monks to have their traditional dana inside the church itself. The cooperation extended by the church was appreciated by everyone as an expression of solidarity with the families of the disappeared. All throughout the 12 years up to now this cooperation has existed.

 Unfortunately newly appointed Fr. Prasad Pereira has taken some steps to obstruct the use of these monuments. He has a build a concrete wall preventing the family members of the disappeared approaching the monument to place wreaths and pay respects. When questioned the priest have said that he himself does not have any objection of his own to the activities of the monument but that some office members of the church has some objections. However no one has come forward to express such objections. This act of disruption manifest sheer lack of sensitivity to the human suffering of a large number of families who have faced the problem of forced disappearances.

Now this priest has lodged a complaint at the local police station regarding the use of this monument. When the priest was questioned as to what legal right he has on this place he was unable to provide any legal titles. In fact the place does not belong to the church at all.

Many leading politicians including the present executive president has come and attended the ceremonies at this place. It is regarded as a place encouraging harmony and in dealing with past human rights abuses in a humane manner.

The priest’s objection may disrupt the only monument to the disappeared in Sri Lanka, which has become a popular place to everyone.

 

Holy Father, the priests suppose to act help the Church in her mission to bear witness to an authentic humanism, grounded in truth and guided by the light of the Gospel. Holy Father, I want to share the sufferings of the families of the disappeared people, our brothers and sisters in the human family, I looking forward for your priestly blessings and prayer for the families of the disappeared people.

 

The first priority for the Successor of Peter was laid down by the Lord in the Upper Room in the clearest of terms: “You… strengthen your brothers” (Lk 22:32). Peter himself formulated this priority anew in his first Letter: “Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15).

 

I am recalling your valuable words that where you have said “I had to interpret and comment on Galatians 5:13-15. I was surprised at the directness with which that passage speaks to us about the present moment: “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another.”

These families of the disappeared people are obviously a neighbor of me, church in Sri Lanka and off course to you.  

 

Your holiness, I remember your valuable message “Humanity is one great family”.

 

Holy Father, the act of Fr. Prasad Pereira is definitely against the essence of “COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH”, teachings of Gospel.

 

Christians, who believe that the Gospel sheds light on every aspect of individual and social life, will not fail to see the philosophical and theological dimensions on this urgent issue.

 

I request your urgent prayer and intervention on this serious situation.

 

Your Holiness, I remain yours most devotedly in Christ,

 

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Activist and Journalist

80/ B Bramon Chiron, Saydabad,

Dhaka-1203, Bangladesh.

Cell: +88 019 7 444 0 666

E-mail:editorbd [at] gmail.com

Skype: William.gomes9

Face book: www.facebook.com/williamnicholasgomes

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/persecutionbd

http://www.williamgomes.org

PDF Document Sri Lanka: Catholic Church is questioned by peace loving people for cruel attitude towards families of the disappeared 0.04 Mb

author by Serfpublication date Sat Oct 22, 2011 09:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ha! Good luck there William! You'll need it!
Because the church sides with power. It has always done so throughout history. Just look to general pinochet in Chile for a recent example of how things work.

Powers that be in Sri Lanka are probably none too keen on the uncomfortable fact that people have been "disappeared" being brought up in a visible way over and over. They'd probably like to sweep that one under the carpet. A quick word in the religious head's ear is all it takes. After all, they probably don't like those decentralised buddhists eroding their potential power base much either.

Thats how it works William. Disgusting I know. And appealing to Rome is a joke, take it from us in Ireland where the church systematically abused and raped our children for decades, then moved the rapists around to other communities to start again whenever word got out

If you must have a faith then might I suggest maybe switcing to buddishm? Seems less corrupt! to me. Meanwhile Don't expect much co-operation from Rome when power is involved.

author by From someone who lived in Sri Lanka...publication date Sat Oct 22, 2011 20:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Serf you clearly have an extremely narrow knowledge of Sri Lanka's civil war.

There have been serious human rights abuses at extreme levels committed on both side of the Tamil- Sinhalese ethnic war. However it has to be acknowledged that the vast majority of these human rights abuses have been inflicted on the Tamil people by the Sinhalese majority, inparticular through the Sri Lankan Army.

The Sri Lankan Army's atrocities, including mass civilian massacres and the incarcerations of 100,000s of Tamil ppl in concentration camps, is openly promoted by Buddhist nationalism against the perceived threat of Hinduism. (To generalise: the majority of Sinhalese ppl are Buddhist, the majority of Tamil ppl are Hindu).

In Sri Lanka,  Buddhist monks are given automatic seats in parliament and have huge control over public and military policy there. They wield this power every bit as strongly as the Catholic Church did in past generations in Ireland. Except the results in Sri Lanka have been far more devastating. During the last flaring up of the civil war in 2008/9 the Buddhist wheel and buddhist flag were openly put on Sri Lankan army recruitment posters, with pictures of Buddhist monks bowing to Sinhalese soldiers. 

This is not to blame the entire civil war and the associated attrocities on the Buddhist establishment. That would be very overly simplistic and not reflective of the extremely complex causes of the civil war in SL.

Buddhism is as problematic as any other organised religion. To suggest to a human rights activist concerned with the practices of disappearances in Sri Lanka to change their religion to Buddhist would be laughable if it wasn't so offensive. 


author by Serfpublication date Sun Oct 23, 2011 06:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I bow to your superior knowledge of Sri Lanka sir/madam

Personally I recommend no religion, you can't really trust any religion. but buddhism (in theory) seemed like the lesser of two evils and quite peaceful. Guess I should have gone with my gut after all! ;-)

William. Maybe consider atheism. i.e absence of a religion. Apparently the lot of them are equally corrupt!! even the seemingly peaceful ones.

Sounds like them buddhists in sri lanka have a lot of shitty karma coming their way!!! Sometimes it seems like religious types don't even take the tenets of their own religions seriously! but then again how could anyone!!! ;-)

author by Romeopublication date Tue Jan 03, 2012 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome.The country comes under the province of Colombo and is divided into 11 dioceses including one archdiocese.There are approximately 1.4 million Catholics in Sri Lanka representing around 7% of the total population. In 1995, at a ceremony in Colombo, Pope John Paul II beatified Father Joseph Vaz, an early missionary to the country, who was known as the Apostle of Ceylon.

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