The Catholic Church and Politics
Posted on November 7th, 2010

Henry J.

The Editor, Lankaweb
 
 The support of the Catholic church for the LTTE-ruthless murdering terrorists responsible the murders of thousands of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka- is, to say the least a great paradox. But then, the Catholic church has a history of paradoxical and irrational behavior, a glaring example of which was the concordats it signed with the Nazis when those terrible guys were carrying out progroms against the Jews.

 It is no surprise that the new Cardinal is declaring support for the LTTE for he seems to be following tradition. However, the cardinal must remember that the LTTE, like the Nazis, are a grim reminder of inhumanity, the devil incarnate if he believes in that guy. He has, we hope, been given that position to foster peace and goodwill, and not to play the devil’s advocate.

12 Responses to “The Catholic Church and Politics”

  1. Nanda Says:

    ronetr the Malcom’s dog is barking everywhere.

  2. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Who is ‘ronetr’ ?
    Nanda, though you are obviously not referring to ‘Henry J’ s short but excellent letter to the Editor, the reader of your comments, may think so as the website has removed the comments of ‘ronetr’.
    In fact this is the case with many other articles and it would be good for either the website not to remove the comments of individuals or else for us readers to be more precise in our comments and avoid causing misunderstandings.

  3. cassandra Says:

    Henry J,

    You are not the first – and nor will you be the last – to accuse the Catholic Church of supporting the LTTE.

    There is little doubt that sections of the Tamil Catholic clergy did in fact support the movement, and I imagine, continue to do so. But to say that the Catholic Church – that means the whole Catholic Church and includes all the Sinhalese Catholic clergy and laymen – supported the LTTE is irresponsible and wrong. Perhaps, you will care to speak to the Sinhalese Catholics you know and find out for yourself.

    And could you please say when and where Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith declared support for the LTTE? According to a report I have seen of his presentation to the LLRC, what the Cardinal said was “We are in no way in favour of any armed conflict in this country. I say it very clearly. Therefore, we are not advocating the position of the LTTE on separating this country”

    I don’t know whether there could be any more clear statement than this that the Cardinal was NOT declaring support for the LTTE.

    Please, be factual in what you say.

  4. Samson Says:

    Cassendra,

    The Cardinal who says they are not in favour of any armed conflict in this country lays down conditions to avoid such a conflict. These condirtions are far worse than an armed conflict. That is where the problem lies.

    Sinhala only act, so called colonisation programs have nothing to do with the armed conflict.

    This is extortion which is what LTTE’s collegues have been doing all along. They tell you to give them this, that and the other in order to avoid an armed conflict.

    It came to a point where armed conflict was much better than pandering into these crazy demands.

  5. Nanda Says:

    A.Soori,
    Yes Ronetr’s comment have been removed.
    Cassandra,
    You must be factual first.
    Please discuss the whole of what Malcom said, not only a part.
    He went on asking for a political soultion and also other false statememnts.
    What is a political solution , other than a federal state ? What is the meaning of a federal state when Colombo has 40-50 % Tamils ?
    Obviously he is singing the song of the west.

  6. Nanda Says:

    Cassandra,
    A. Sooriarachi has raised few question, I repeat below.

    “Cardinal Malcolm Ranjit’s recommendations are very disturbing and it is important to know the answers to at least the ethnic ratio issue.

    1. When the Cardinal warns that the ethnic ratio in the North and East must be maintained, WHICH RATIO DOES HE MEAN? Is it the current ratio created by LTTE terrorists by evicting non-Tamils from the North and East during the past 30 years? Or is it the ratio that would have prevailed 50 yrs ago prior to the genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign of the LTTE terrorists; or is it the ratio that was before the British, Dutch and Portuguese colonised SriLanka for over 400yrs, during which period the Sinhalese and Muslims were either killed or evicted from their lands and South Indian Tamil Labour imported to colonise the North, East and the hill country?

    2. Does the Cardinal’s ethnic ratio apply at Provincial Level, or District Level or Village Level?

    3. Does this rule apply to all provinces in SriLanka and if not why?

    4. Does this mean the Sri Lankan Government cannot develop waste lands in the North and East, unless sufficient Tamil families are available to settle down on those lands?

    5. If there are no meaningful answers to the above questions, then could the Cardinal kindly withdraw his recommendation and bless the entire country for a prosperous and peaceful future, irrespective of race or religion.”

    If you honestly think Malcom is correct, can you answer these questions for him ? You will find that he is generalising similar to Western governments and repeating like a parrot.

  7. cassandra Says:

    .
    Samson and Nanda,

    There were two points I made and I stand by them. Firstly, that it is incorrect to say the Catholic Church as a whole, supported the LTTE, despite what individual members of the clergy and others in the North and East may have done, and secondly, that the Cardinal said very clearly that he did not advocate the position of the LTTE to divide the country, and accordingly did not express any support of that movement.

    I must concede, however, that some of the other statements the Cardinal is reported to have made, surprised me as well. I also cannot agree with the proposition that the ethnic ratios in the North and the East must be maintained. That amounts to an acceptance of the ‘sanctity’ of the so called Traditional Homelands – the idea that these areas must remain the exclusive preserve of the Tamils. To me, the whole concept of Traditional Homelands, which must remain inviolate in respect of new migration into those areas, is inconsistent with the idea of a unitary state. To concede to one racial group an exclusive right to habitation in some areas is to grant that group ‘preferential’ rights – to say in effect that they are ‘more equal’ than others. What is also galling is that those who claim exclusive rights to ‘Traditional Homelands’ also seek free and unfettered right to settle in any other part of the country.

    The Tamils have also been unreasonable with the colonisation schemes. To them, anything that affected their privileges in what they claimed were Traditional Homelands was suspect.

    I believe that the Official Languages Act of 1956 and some of the constitutional changes that followed, played into and exacerbated Tamil disquiet. And, as people like Nihal Jayawickreme have acknowledged, there may have been some changes that were not entirely fair by the Tamils. I also think that many of those changes were poorly handled and not adequately explained. But I do not think these were the root causes for Tamil agitation. The Federal Party was formed in 1947 – some nine years before legislation allegedly discriminatory of the Tamils was passed. The demands for a separate state was born of Tamil ‘aspirations’ and go back to many years before that. The ‘grievances’ came later. And it is interesting to note that in the latter stages even the LTTE was speaking of Tamil ‘aspirations’, not so much of ‘grievances’.

    I also think it is premature to withdraw or drastically reduce the size of the security forces from the North and the East. And as for the 13th Amendment, it was foisted on the island by a bullying India. Agreements entered into under duress are bad in law and there is no moral obligation to implement the 13A. At any rate, it is now a dead letter and that is where we need to leave it.

    No doubt the good Cardinal has his own reasons for the statements he made. But as I have said, some of them surprise me as well.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    He should not have said these things.

  9. Nanda Says:

    Cassandra,
    Your main point is defeated as you are “surprised” at Cardinal error.
    Actually proper word should be “dissapointed” not “surprised”.

    I am cutting and pasting from his statement , from his website.

    “The massive colonization schemes undertaken by successive governments after independence, even if they were well-meant, but which did not necessarily respect the pluralities of the ethnic and religious proportions of the Sri Lankan people served rather as irritants than as catalysts for unity, because they were served as an attempt to a gradual breakdown and erosion of the original cultural make-up of these regions. Furthermore, in the 1970’s, the Republican Constitution of 1972 as well as the Constitution of the 1978 omitted or overlooked the provision in the Soulbury Constitution (Section 29) which had enshrined safeguards for the minorities. Such irritants must be avoided in the future in all development plans.
    ………..
    ……………
    We as Christians submit these specific recommendations to this Commission with the fervent hope that they will be considered seriously in order to heal the wounds of a painful conflict which traumatized our homeland for over thirty years, and to lay the foundation for a solid sense of peace and harmony in the future.”

    If you do not accept Malcom’s statement you must openly say som – not just “surprise”.

  10. Nanda Says:

    Cassandra,
    Every Christian leader supports some sort of discrimination against Sinhala Buddhists. None of them accepts that most Christian religious days are holidays in Sri Lanka similar to any other western country. They say Buddhism has special treatment. How unfair to say those things. Every religion is treated well in Sir Lanka. Early morning you can hear Muslim calling from the mosques load and clear , as any Muslim country. In Singapore such calling is banned , even though Singapore is in the middle of Muslim region !
    Since every Christian leader is discriminating the tolerant Sinhala Buddhist, it is not unfair to say Church is supoorting LTTE plus.

  11. Nanda Says:

    Cassandra,
    If you can, tell me one Church member who spoke against terrorism unconditionally. I repeat unconditionaly. Not a single pope spoke of the suffering of Palastinanians, chased out of their own land. They condemn Muslim violence unconditionaly.

  12. cassandra Says:

    Nanda,
    I am afraid, my friend, I have not been able to respond sooner but let me deal with the points you have raised.

    Firstly, if you care to re-read what I had written you will see that I do not accept the Cardinal’s position regarding colonization and other things.

    In regard to your assertion that “every Christian leader supports some sort of discrimination against Sinhala Buddhists” and “none of them accepts that most Christian religious days are holidays in Sri Lanka similar to any other western country”, I do not believe this to be the case. I don’t know on what basis you say this or whom you regard as “Christian leaders”. But not a single Christian I know supports any discrimination against Sinhala Buddhists. Nor do any of them not accept that most Christian religious days are holidays in Sri Lanka – to not accept something that is so manifestly true would be downright silly!

    I agree with you that every religion is treated well in Sri Lanka. I believe also that for the most part inter faith relations in the island are excellent, and I have no doubt that all people of goodwill will want to keep it that way. My experience of those I know – from across all religions – is that they duly respect other people’s religious beliefs. In fact, some even find much to admire in other faiths and indeed much they find personally enriching.

    Yes, Church leaders have spoken against terrorism unconditionally more than once. Both the present Pope and his predecessor have been strong voices in this respect. And it is not true that not a single Pope has spoken about the suffering of the Palestinians. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Palestine last year, a report in Y Net News noted that “ the pope called for a sovereign Palestinian homeland as he started his visit.” The report went on to quote the Pope as saying, “The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders”. You have only to search the Internet for any amount of additional reports confirming the Pope’s stance in this regard.

    It would also be pertinent to quote what the Pope had to say about those infamous ‘Mohamed’ cartoons published by a Danish newspaper – “In the international context we are living at present, the Catholic Church continues convinced that, to foster peace and understanding between peoples and men, it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected”. He also added that this implies that “believers should not be the object of provocations that wound their lives and religious sentiments”. Pope Benedict XVI noted that “for believers, as for all people of good will, the only path that can lead to peace and fraternity is respect for the convictions and religious practices of others”.

    I believe sincerely that the world – and more especially the West – has ‘moved on’ a great deal in the last fifty or so years in terms of being more open minded in relation to religious beliefs and we are now more receptive to what other faiths have to offer.

    Sri Lanka has only recently emerged from a long night of darkness and no sane person would wish to return to a similar nightmare. There is much talk of forces outside the country that are determined to act against the country’s interests. If we allow religious discord to grow, we will only be playing into the hands of those same forces.

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