Auxiliary bishops of Colombo and clergy slam politician’s criticism of archbishop
by Melani Manel Perera

Ex MP Harin Fernando made "derogatory comments" about Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith at an election rally, accusing him of playing a political role in the presidential election.


Colombo (Asia News) – The Archdiocese of Colombo has expressed concern and condemned a recent statement by Harin Fernando (pictured), a former MP , who made “derogatory comments” about Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, during an electoral rally, accusing him of playing a political role in the presidential election.

In a signed statement, the Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo Maxwell Silva and D J Anthony Jayakody; Fathers Jude Samantha Kumara Fernando (procurator general), Francis Senanayake (judicial vicar); and episcopal vicars Fathers Joseph Patrick Perera, Daya Sellton Welikadarachchi, Nihal Ivan Perera, Ciswan de Croos, and Manokumaran Nagaratnam call for rectification.

Church leaders note that Card Ranjith plays a leading role in a country "weakened by political turmoil,” and that “it was solely due to his efforts that clashes between the different communities were prevented in the aftermath of the tragic Easter Sunday bombing.”

Last Sunday Harin, a Catholic and a former minister, said that “because of his eminence, the UNP candidate Sajith Premadasa was deprived of Catholic votes during the last presidential election.”

Yesterday evening, Harin, speakign for the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) alliance, issued another statement.

In it he said: “A 45-minute speech made by me at a rally in Pollonnaruwa was edited into a one-minute clip and released by certain media institutions with vested interests. The edited clip distorts my message. I have now made my entire speech available to the public, so that anyone wishing to understand my speech in its entirety can do so.”

In that speech, Fernando had said: "We all know that 80% of Catholic votes traditionally support the UNP. They carried out a well-thought-out plan to drive them away.”

Likewise, he noted that “At the Presidential election, 500,000 votes would have made a difference. There was a well-orchestrated campaign to ensure that this bloc would not vote for the UNP-led alliance's candidate.”