12/10/2011, 00.00
SRI LANKA

A day of prayer for the nun of Mother Teresa's order who "sold children"

Melani Manel Perera
The government made an "unofficial" apology, but the church wants an official statement withdrawing all charges against Sister Eliza and the hostel for unmarried mothers. On 15 December there will be the first hearing.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Diocese of Colombo will observe tomorrow a day of prayer for the safety and security of the Missionaries of Charity and the hostel of Prem Nives Moratwa. This was requested by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo. On 28 November, the authorities raided the hostel for unmarried mothers run by the Missionaries and arrested Sister Mary Eliza, the mother superior, accusing her of "selling children."

On 8 December, the Government of Sri Lanka made an apology to the Missionaries, calling the issue "very serious and delicate" and adding that "if errors were committed, the government will take steps to correct them." The last statement seems to be a response to Cardinal Ranjith, who on December 5 announced a press conference to ask the media and authorities to withdraw the "baseless" accusations against Prem Nives.

According to Fr. Benedict Joseph, spokesman for the Diocese of Colombo, the case will be resolved presently. However, he adds, "although we appreciate the apology received from some persons in government, we believe that the state should issue an official statement withdrawing all charges against sister Eliza and her Nives Prem".

Since the birth of the Congregation, Sister Eliza is the first Missionary of Charity to be arrested. Released on bail on November 29 last year, the religious will face her first hearing on December 15.

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