Tamil-wing of Catholics aid and abet Tamil extremism – Part I
Posted on March 24th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Of the many contradictions, misinterpretations, distortions and perversions in the political culture of the north the role of religion, in all its dimensions, is the least explored and understood. In contrast, Buddhism has been explored almost exhaustively in the south, mainly to demonize it as the force that exacerbated inter-ethnic relations..

 One of the remarkable contradictions of Jaffna society, missed by sociologists and other social scientists, is that it is primarily a Hindu society dominated  by the Christian ” mainly Catholic ” hierarchy. From S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, the Christian leader of Tamil separatism, to Bishop Rayappu Joseph, the Bishop of Mannar, the English-educated Christian elite has dominated its political class.

 Of the all the Western institutions it is the Catholic Church that loom large over the northern political landscape. To paraphrase Bishop S. Jebanesan, Catholicism that came with the Portuguese remained deep-rooted unlike the subsequent denominations which had a tenuous hold on Jaffna. (p.42 ” The Bible Trembled, R.F. Young and S. Jebanesan). The Catholic Church became a stronghold of the Karaiyar caste (fisher caste) in the coastal belt. They also joined the Tigers in large numbers and were in the forefront of this movement.

 The diocese of Mannar under Bishop Joseph stands out as a typical example where Catholicism and Tamil extremism intertwined to make mono-ethnic Tamil extremism an inextricable and indistinguishable part of the Catholic Church. After Biahop Deogupillai he became leading local symbol of the Tamil crusade to politicize the Catholic Church and turn it into a tool for the extremist  separatist ideology of Velupillai Prabhakaran. For instance, his act of  allowing one of his priests to hijack the Statue of Holy Mary at Madhu and run with it, nearly 20 km north of Mannar into Vellankulam, a territory held by Prabhakaran, was a political act designed to bless the cadres of Prabhakaran fighting  with his back to the wall. It had nothing to do with saving the image of Holy Mary because the advancing forces were under strict orders not damage the Madhu Church. And they didn’t despite the LTTE forces using the Madhu grounds to fire at the Sri Lankan forces inching their way up the north-western shoreline.

 The first concern of Bishop Rayappu should have been to make the sacred image accessible to the Catholics in all communities. He had the opportunity to take the sacred image to the Bishop’s House in Mannar or to a cleared area in the south, away from the war zone, which would  have been the safest move. But  his racist politics overtook his  religious obligations. This is not surprising. The tendency of the Catholic hierarchy has been to go along with fascist dictators. For instance, when Duce (leader) Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935 the Bishop of Cremona consecrated a number of regimental flags and said: ‘The blessing of God be upon these soldiers who, on African soil, will conquer new and fertile lands for the Italian genius, thereby bringing to them Roman and Christian culture. May Italy stand once again as the Christian mentor to the whole world.’ (Wikipedia).

 Bishop Rayappu’s  mission was no different. He was out to serve the fascist  / racist politics of Prabhakaran. As a last minute desperate act he even appealed to Vatican to stop the advance of the Army in the name of saving the sacred image of Holy Mary. Vatican which may have seen through the politics  of Bishop Rayappu, maintained a stony silence, neither saying “yes” or “no” to Bishop Rayappu. It was also an emotive issue with the poteontial to rouse the sympathies of  the global Catholic community. By exaggerating the threat to the Holy image he was hoping  to mobilize  international opinion to save Prabhakaran. But no one stepped in to save him. Nor did they step in to stop Bishop Rayappah from hijacking a holy image common to all Catholics to an exclusive Tamil enclave. It  happened  in Bishop Rayappu  diocese and he was solely responsible for the hijacking.

 The significance of this brazen act is this: the Catholic church had embraced Tamil extremism  in all its violent manifestations as its main political agenda, with a modicum of dissent from the odd priests here and there. But as a collective force, the Tamil-wing of the Catholic Church has been  in the forefront of promoting mono-ethnic Tamil extremism. Its covert and overt activism, using its clerical channels as conduits for propagating and promoting Tamil extremism, has been a significant force in propelling Prabhakaranism as a political force in the north.

 Bishop Rayappu Joseph has been the spearhead of this Catholic action more  than any other in the Catholic hierarchy, leaving aside Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, a Karaiyar,  who operates abroad. The hijacking of  the statue  of Holy Mary is an act that demonstrate his political fanaticism. In the end, it served neither the Church nor God. And least  of his Tamil extremism. It is a statute that belongs to the Sinhala Catholics as well, After all they constitute the major part of the Catholic Church. By his act he was depriving the majority of the Catholics ” including the Tamils Catholics who were living with the Sinhalese outside the territory controlled by Prabhakaran —  their right to share the Mother of God which belongs to the Catholic community as a whole.

 In the post-Chelvanayakam decades, dominated by Tamil separatism, the Christian political culture  of the north took a rabid turn drawing close to the point of being only one step away from putting a pottu and holy ash on the statues of Holy Mary and Jesus to identity them as being one with the Tamils. They went as far as they could and stopped at hijacking the Madhu statue. They could not go beyond that though the Tamil theologians threatened to write a separate theology for the Tamils. The former  Vicar General of Jaffna, Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, was  the first to declare that he was writing a Tamil theology for the Tamils excluding  the Sinhala Catholics. So did Bishop S. Jebanesan, a scholar of considerable repute. In the end, neither of them produced a theology for the Tamils. If they did they would have added their bit to the prevailing religio-political culture of the north which they had already distorted and perverted.  As false prophets they used their own brand of Christian theology to promise a land which was beyond their reach. The only land promised to them was not by any divine authority but by delusional Tamil extremists who met in the electorate of Chelvanayakam, Vadukoddai, in 1976 and drafted the  Vadukoddai Resolution loaded with fabricated history and fictitious geography.

 With all the backing of the false prophets of the Christian Church, both abroad and at home, Tamil extremism failed to get anywhere near their political  mirage. Despite feint protestations the hidden agenda of  the Catholic Church was, covertly and overtly, to create a separate state for the Tamils which would help the Tamil-wing of the Catholic Church to set up their separate, independent Church under an exclusive Tamil hierarchy. Their theology was bent on constructing an ethnic road to heaven for Tamils that ran through a separate Tamil Church, organized by Tamil hierarchy operating in the elusive Tamil Eelam. Their proposed  theologies and actions were premised on the assumption that it was possible to go to heaven through an Italian Pope in Rome but not through a Sinhala Cardinal in Colombo. 

 The hijacking of iconic statues and the  promise  of new Tamil theologies were to make-believe that God was on the side of the Tamils. Their fanatical commitment to Tamil extremism, which they equated to divine forces in the Old Testament, made them believe that they were re-enacting dramas of Biblical proportions like Moses leading his people out of Egypt. For instance, when Velupillai Prabhakaran forced the Tamil residents of Jaffna to withdraw into Vanni after he was defeated by Maj-Gen. Janaka Perera in 1995 (the Tamils terrorists never could  return to their heartland) Fr. Emmanuel wrote a pamphlet titled Let My People Go, in which he projected Prabhakaran as Moses leading his people out  of Egypt. In another instance, he is reported to have equated Prabhakaran to a latter day Jesus come to save his people.

 The  Tamil propagandists, exploiting every bit of fiction and theory to win over the West, particularly the Western churches, were going all out to prove that they were guided by a divine hand. Some even went to the extreme of claiming that Eelam was first mentioned in the Bible. If my memory serves me right, it was Kumar Ponnambalam Jr., among others,  who claimed in one of his propaganda pieces that “Eelom” was prophesied even in the Bible. The facts, however, are different. A place called “Elim” ” note, not Eelam or Eelom ” is mentioned in two places in the Bible. First in the Exodus 15:27  and 16:1. and second  in the Numbers, 33:9 which, more or less, repeats the Exodus

 Elim was the second encampment of the Israelites after they crossed the Red Sea. But the Tamil propagandist somehow skip the third encampment which was in Sin, perhaps because it was too close to the reality faced by the Tamil in Vanni. In James’ version it reads like this: “And they came to Elim, … and they encamped by the waters.” (Ibid 15:27). The next stop was in Sin and Exodus (16:1) says: “And they took their journey from Elim, all the congregation of  the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin…….”

 This happened in the second month after the Israelites left Egypt. And Exodus adds: “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Ibid- 16:2). And the  children  of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died in the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger..(Ibid – 16:3). Those who know the history of the exodus  of the Tamils from Jaffna may agree that, if  there was any prophecy in the Bible, it corresponds to what happened in Sin than in Elim. And if there was a benevolent interventionist force that showered bread and medicine to the Tamils in the wilderness of  separatists’ “Sin” it was the Government of Sri Lanka and not Prabhakaran. By all known accounts, it is hard to deny that Prabhakaran turned Vanni into a veritable “Sin-ni”.

 One of  the great tragedies of the universal God in all theologies has been the fragmentation of His image into a multitude of denominations, each with a twisted theology claiming to have a special relationship with Him. If the Jaffna Tamil “theologians” were to produce another theology for the Tamils it would not only be otiose but also a desecration of the brotherhood of man proclaimed so pronouncedly in the Bible. It would have been, at best, a political catechism more than a credible theology which any respectable Christian could have accepted in this day and age as doctrine for human salvation.

 The mono-ethnic extremism of Jaffna politics infiltrated and polluted even the religion of the Prince of Peace to justify the violent politics of the Vadukoddians. The active participation of the Churches in the fascist / racist politics of Prabhakaran’s politics is a denial of the non-violent principles laid down by Jesus. He told Peter  not  to draw the sword even to save him. If the sword could not  be drawn to save Jesus what right had Bishop Rayappu to run with the image of the Holy Mother of Jesus to save Prabhakaran?

 This betrayal of the fundamentals of Christianity, incidentally, is a phenomenon quite common to the Church. The Catholic Church actively supported Hitler in his anti-Semitic politics. The Church in Rome turned a blind eye to  the persecution of the Jews. Pope Pius XII is accused of giving more than a nudge-and-a-wink to the persecution of Jews by Hitler. The Catholic Church in Germany actively worked with Hitler, a Catholic, in glorifying the fascist regime. So did the Catholic Church in Franco’s fascist Spain.

 It is not surprising, therefore, to find Catholics in Sri Lanka playing ball with the Tamil Hitler in persecuting his own people, let alone other communities. In return these dictators did not touch the Church, or the prot©g©s of the Church. Prabhakaran was one  of them. He attacked Muslims and Buddhists but he never touched the Church which was backing him internationally and nationally. The black mark against the Catholic Churchmen for aiding and abetting the inhuman  politics of Prabhakaran cannot be erased easily. It will remain as an indelible mark in the pages of history like the innocent Catholics who were massacred by Sankili on the eve of the Christmas of 1544.

 The complicit role of the Church in aiding and abetting Tamil Tiger crimes against their own people is symbolized in the tragic story related to me by Dr. Noel Nadesan , Editor of UTHAYAM in Australia, a novelist, a veterinarian and Tamil activist. Dr. Nadesan said that the Tamil parents, frightened by the threat of Tamil Tigers in Mullativu forcibly abducting their school-going children, handed over their teenage daughters to the local Catholic Church in Valayar Maddam, near the Mullativu coast, trusting them to protect their young ones. The next morning when the parents came to look for them they had all disappeared. In the night the Catholic priests had rung the LTTE office in Mullativu and tipped them about the Tamil girls in their care. The Catholic fathers had no compunction whatsoever in handing over the children of trusting Tamil parents to fill the depleted cadres of brutal Tamil Tigers.

10 Responses to “Tamil-wing of Catholics aid and abet Tamil extremism – Part I”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “The next morning when the parents came to look for them they had all disappeared.”

    Why NONE of these parents came forward? NONE!

    When Pee-Illey was in SL at least ONE of them should have told her these things. She ONLY met Tamilians because she is a Tamil RACIST who took offence to the Buddhist flag.

    Noel Nadesan should give NAMES and ADDRESSES of these kids to MOD so that these can be INVESTIGATED and the “fathers” can be arrested for child abuse, terrorism, etc.

    I hope this is NOT a dead lead.

    Often some GOOD Tamils give dead leads to govt. that saves BOTH SIDES for them. NO IMPACT on LTTE so LTTE is happy. Govt. thinks a fantastic lead and happy until realizing NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

    There are only a handful of PATRIOTIC Tamils who genuinely support UNITARY SL. I hope ND is one of them.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    This article shows that the hierarchy of the Tamil Catholic Church in the North have been partners in crime with LTTE terrorists and therefore, these church leaders need to be investigated for whatever war crimes they are involved in, such as handing over to Prabakaran those girls given to the church by their parents for protection.
    There were similar reports of orphanages run by NGOs and Churches in the North, for post-tsunami orphans, being turned into sources of supply of children to the LTTE terrorists. I believe, Father Emanuel and Bishop Joseph have a lot to answer, but are they immune to prosecution? Of course the human rights brigade will be up in arms if the law is applied to these priests.

  3. mario_perera Says:

    “The former Vicar General of Jaffna, Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, was the first to declare that he was writing a Tamil theology for the Tamils excluding the Sinhala Catholics. So did Bishop S. Jebanesan, a scholar of considerable repute. In the end, neither of them produced a theology for the Tamils”. (HLDM)

    I repeat: In the end, neither of them produced a theology for the Tamils.

    S.J.emmanuel was a very mediocre student of ‘Philosophy’ at the National Seminary, Kandy, and a very mediocre student of Theology at the University ‘Propaganda fide’ in Rome. If he did not write the theology for Tamils he threatened to write it was clearly and unambiguously because he was not capable of doing so.

    It was I who stepped into the breach and wrote his projected theology for him. Reference my book: THE BEAST, a liberation theology for Tamils. Here below is the review of the book by an erudite gentleman from London.

    The Beast – A Liberation Theology for Tamils
    Published by Godage and Brothers Pvt. Ltd., Maradana


    By Cecil Jayasinghe
    Sunday, 23 February 2014 00:00

    I am writing this review of Mario Perera’s book ‘The Beast – A Liberation Theology for Tamils’ from London where S.J.Emmanuel’s headquarters, the B.T.F. is located. The book appears at an ideal moment when Emmanuel’s forces are being aligned to humiliate Sri Lanka at the Geneva Summit of March. What this book does is ‘cutting the ground from under Emmanuel’s feet’.

    As indicated by the author the book is a probe into the mind of S.J.Emmanuel, and takes the reader back to the nineteen sixties when Emmanuel was a seminarian of the Roman Catholic Church both in Sri Lanka and in Rome. The author delves into the nihilistic ideologies of that period that definitely left their mark on Emmanuel’s mind. What Emmanuel ended up fabricating was a doctrine that annihilated belief in everything the Catholic Church holds sacred: God, Christ, Mary, the Soul, the Church and Life itself.

    The author argues that Emmanuel was the scion of two implacable ‘indelible’ systems, the Tamil psyche and the Catholic priesthood, both of which connote an inherent ‘apartness’ from others. For Emmanuel it was his Tamil nature that took precedence. He said: ‘I am a Tamil before being a Christian (or follower of the Christ of the gospels)’. To equate his race with his religion Emmanuel clothed Prabharakan with the mantle of Jesus Christ.

    This process also affected the image of Mary who became the mother of ‘the new Jesus’ and personification of Mother Ealam. The author reminds the readers that it was to Prabhakaran’s (the new Jesus’) stronghold that Bishop Rayappu ‘Joseph’ spirited away the statue of the Madhu Virgin. What literally happened was that ‘Joseph’ took ‘Mary’ to ‘Jesus’ naturally liberating her from the bondage of the Sinhala oppressors!

    By negating the Gospel message of Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the LIFE, Emmanuel had no option but to promulgate the cult of DEATH: death by one’s own hand or suicide resulting in the deaths of the multitude. That act of suicide through the self-bomb blast was in Emmanuel’s own words ‘the revelation of God’ as the Lord of Life. That Lord of Life for Emmanuel was his new Jesus, alias Prabhakaran. Logically, the only immortality Emmanuel could promise his suicide ‘martyrs’ and his soldiers of Christ was the immortality of the ‘silver screen’ where the corpses resurrected from the neon-light lit cemeteries would once again ‘put on flesh’ before the adoring Tamil eyes.

    The author depicts the leadership role the Catholic hierarchy, both national and international, assumed in the Ealam war. A Church that connived and colluded with Emmanuel’s heresies that are unparalleled in its entire history, transformed itself into, as the author puts it, a ‘shepherd in the mist’ and finally into ‘a lost sheep’.

    The book which integrates Eastern and Western literary sources in its narrative also combines every relevant facet of Sri Lankan history pertaining to the Ealam claim exposed as a fraud. This book masterfully conceived and written will leave no one indifferent to its contents and message.

    Mario Perera

  4. Ratanapala Says:

    Catholic Church has its blood soaked hands in everything that happens in Sri Lanka – whether it is the North or the South. Only thing different is the way they handle it. They enter every house, institution or organisation that they are interested in either through the front door or more frequently through the bedroom window!

    Most of our politicians are or their spouses are Christian is not by accident. Ever since the despicable Portuguese entered Sri Lanka the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches have not left the corridors of power. Even today the situation is not any different. The Buddhist hierarchy is merely ceremonial and only good at tying Pirith Nool that accumulate rope like in politicians hands.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Colonisation (nearly 500 yrs), Cold War & Tamil Caste Wars have taken a terrible toll on Sri Lanka.

    Some of thoughts on the troubles of Lanka :

    Tamil Nadu Caste structures were exported to Sri Lanka through the Tamil indentured labor brought in by the British & the Dutch for their Plantations Industry, upsetting the delicate ethnic and religious balance in Lanka. The churches have got involved in the Tamil Caste Wars.

    Sri Lanka has been turned into a sort of modern day Kurukshethra (battle ground in the Bhagavad Gita) to solve ancient religio/social problems. The Free Education & Health Care systems of Lanka have made it an attractive landing spot for Tamil LABOR and Tamil and other illegal migrants, to lose Caste and social upward mobility. In fact, in the book “Sri Lanka through American Eyes’ (ed: H.A.I. Goonetillke), it is revealed that ‘merely crossing sea water’ was enough to lose caste. Hence the importance of Palk Straits for Tamils of Tamil Nadu plus control of Sri Lanka as a landing spot.

    Thank you, Mario, for your great efforts to sort out the problems.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our many thanks to HLD for sustained efforts to bring peace, understanding and justice in Lanka.

  7. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    If Catholicism is counterproductive to Sri Lanka then treat it as the “enemy within”. Show no mercy. Muslim nations have successfully maintained the integrity of their faith by purging foreign religions out of their respective nations.

    Sri Lanka is first and last a Buddhist nation. If foreign religions such as Hinduism, Christianity or Islam become a scourge upon the land then do away with it. There are plenty of Catholics (one billion) across the world. Sri Lanka and the Buddhist Sanga does not need to stand for the ongoing Christian or Islamic or Hindu imperialist actions in Sri Lanka. Purge them using what ever manner till they no longer exist in Sri Lanka.

  8. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Since we are on the issue of religion lets take Sri Lanka Hindu Tamils. They are different that their counterparts in Tamil Nadu. Unlike the strict vegetarianism in Tamil Nadu the Sri Lankan Hindu Tamils by and large worship Kali, with annual ritualistic slaughter of thousands of animals on their alters of blood. It is interesting that these same Tamils dare not practice this savagery in the host nations in Europe or the new world for that would be considered cruelty to animals and animal sacrifices are banned.
    Then lets take the Tamil culture as a whole; They latch on the Hindu culture and history of India that is not theirs. From the Harrapan civilization, Emperor Ashoka, Chandragupta Mouriya and the Gupta dynasty , the Golden age of Hinduism to to Varanasi the holiest Hindu city, to the Indian epics of the Mahabharata to the Ramayana

    To the birth places of Rama in Ayodhya to Krishna in Mathura to all the Hindu Gods are Northern Indian facts. From the Taj Mahal, to Ajanta, to Ellora to the ancient Indian scientist such as Aryabhata to Brahmagupta to the Indian Shakespeare Kalidasa, The Mogul Empire, the Rajput culture to Mahatma Gandhi to Nehru to Buddha to Mahavira are all North Indian products. Even the language of Vijayanagar was Telugu, not Tamil.

    In South East Asia there is not a single Temple with a Gopuram from ancient times. The language of the converted Hindus of South East Asia was Sanskrit and not Tamil. But the Tamils ride on the cultural wealth of others making it look like they are a civilized race. They are not. The Sri Lankan Tamils in particular are savage and primitive. Time for the Sinhalese Buddhists to reclaim all the land lost when Kalinga Magha invaded and drew the Sinhalese to the South and facilitated the establishment of the Tamils in Jaffna a thousand years ago. Now the cycle has come a full circle. The Tamils have lost the war and are desperately trying to revive it. Stamp them out!!!

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    read as : ” …to lose caste and gain social mobility”.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    May I add a little to bw’s comments :

    The habit of ritual killing (Animal Sacrifice) has been BANNED in Tamil Nadu. The practise of Animal Sacrifice was always contained to the low caste and Dalit Tamil folk of Tamil Nadu, brought into Lanka through the IMPORTED TAMIL LABOR. What cannot be done in Tamil Nadu, is done in Sri Lanka. Lanka to must ban Animal Sacrifice as it is done in Ignorance, is very cruel and unnecessary.

    DEPORT ALL ILLEGAL MIGRANTS IN LANKA as done in ALL Democracies all over the world.

    The true born Tamils of Lanka will truly benefit from this.

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