ASIA/SRI LANKA - Waiting for truth and justice: the Church commemorates the Easter massacres and visits the Pope

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 justice   local churches   politics   terrorism  

Colombo (Agenzia Fides) - For three years we have been asking the government for truth and justice after the Easter 2019 massacres. For three years we have stood by the victims and their families. Since our cry and that of a whole people has not been heard, we launch our appeal to the international community and have also personally ddelivered it to Pope Francis to ask for his support, who warmly received us", said to Fides Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, at the commemoration of the third anniversary of the Easter attacks which on April 21, 2019 a total of 279 people were killed and 500 injured and several churches and hotels were hit.
The Cardinal also accompanied members of the Church and families from Sri Lanka to the meeting with Pope Francis. "The people of the country want and need to know whether the current administration is protecting the former president who may have been involved in the Easter attack," Cardinal Ranjith said at the April 21 memorial service. This questioned the sense of responsibility of the secret services and the police, who had failed to ensure the safety of the population. Church officials and observers pointed out that the Commission of Inquiry into the massacres had initiated disciplinary inquiries, which were never conducted, to determine whether the institutions themselves were implicated in the bloody attacks.
On April 21, in Sri Lanka, which is currently going through a severe economic and social crisis, the anniversary of the massacres was commemorated in silence and prayer, with candles being lit in the towns and a long procession on the Colombo-Negombo road, one of the scenes of the massacres. As reported to Fides, Father Basil Fernando, a priest from Colombo and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Sri Lanka, a ceremony to commemorate the massacres has been held since morning in all the churches of the country. For two minutes, the nation stood still and believers, along with believers of other religions such as Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus, observed silence. "We want to express that justice and truth are the best means to build a prosperous and peaceful future. We reiterate our appeals to the government, which has so far ignored the legitimate questions of the victims and their families: People want truth and transparency," said Father Fernando. The priest recalled that "the Church stands with those who suffer and will continue to raise her voice to demand transparent and honest explanations from the government about the attacks, so that the real perpetrators can be brought to justice". "The population has lost faith in the political class and its leaders and sees that so much corruption is ruining the country. The Catholic Church is on the side of the poor, the needy, the last, those who are struggling to survive today fight," he says
On the evening of April 21, the faithful gathered for a 5 km silent march from Colombo to Negombo, all dressed in black, "to show the deep sorrow of the day dedicated to the victims and their families and to express
mourning because we have not yet had justice", reports the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
The recent visit of the Sri Lankan delegation to the Vatican was an important opportunity to make an appeal to the international community and to the Holy See,
concludes the Director of the PMS, asking "not to abandon us and support us in our struggle for justice. The international community needs to know this. We ask all the faithful to pray for us and with us. We are gathered in the name of God as believers, in search of truth". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/4/2022)