Webinar on 'Fratelli tutti’ in Sinhala
by Melani Manel Perera

The online meeting was attended by 150 professors and students from the "Christian Study Circle" of the University of Kelaniya. The papal encyclical as a "new way of thinking about regional and international relations". “Fratelli tutti appeals to all nations, ethnic groups, and religions. We cannot marginalize it to onely for Christians”.

Colombo (Asia News) - Universal brotherhood, love without borders, hospitality, welcome that Pope Francis imprinted in his encyclical "Fratelli tutti ", are "a new way of thinking about regional and international relations": this is the synthesis of a webinar held November 29 by the “Christian Study Circle” of the University of Kelaniya, which was attended by over 150 people online, professors and students. Held in Sinhala it lasted for at least 2 hours, even attracting participants from abroad.

For Romesh Nonis, one of the coordinators of the webinar and member of the "Christian Study Circle", it is important to track what is happening in the world and Pope Francis’ teaching helps us to recognize the signs of the times. The encyclical - said professor Wijith Rohan Fernando - traces the path to face global challenges through the application of Catholic social doctrine.

Nonis, a graduate in philosophy and a teacher in the Christian Studies department of Kalaniya University, announced that a group he set up has begun translating the encyclical.

Professor and priest Aloysius Peiris was especially struck by Pope Francis’s statements regarding the fact that "mankind is the custodian and not the proprietor of the universe and this calls into question property rights as we have conceived them so far".

Saman Kapila Wijesuriya, journalist, stressed that “the pope introduces a new concept, that of social friendship. It goes beyond race, religion, language, borders, racial divisions” and in the name of fraternity and solidarity it calls for the rejection of war.

He added: “An encyclical asking for respect for human rights is the preliminary condition for a country’s social and economic development. War is a negation of all rights. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and people.” Saman recalled that the 26 years of civil war in Sri Lanka have caused inconvenience and difficulties for the economy, for the environment and for the population.

At one point, he said: “Christians here are told that human rights conspiracies come from the West. If it's a conspiracy, it's not from the West, it's from heaven. The main conspirator is Pope Francis!”.

 Sanduni Mahesha is also a webinar coordinator and is a lecturer at the Aquinas Institute of Higher Education. Speaking she stressed: “Fratelli tutti appeals to all nations, ethnic groups, and religions. We cannot put a margin “it is only for Christians”.

“The document is also important because it reflects the pope's continuing concern and care for universal humanity, the environment as well as a call to continue endeavors in making the world a better place to live for all creation.”